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DONNY SCHATZ NAMED NORTH AMERICAN 410 SPRINT CAR POLL “DRIVER OF THE YEAR” FOR 2009

From Tom Schmeh

KNOXVILLE, IOWA (January 14, 2010) – For the fourth consecutive year, Donny Schatz of Fargo, North Dakota, was voted the “Driver of the Year” by the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll voting panel of media members, promoters, sanctioning officials and manufacturers. However, unlike the previous two years, it was not a unanimous decision this time. The 2009 World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series point champion and the ’09
Knoxville Nationals winner earned twenty-two (22) of the thirty (30) first-place ballots cast in the year-end poll.

Those drivers ranked second through fifth, respectively, are WoO regulars Joey Saldana of Indiana, Jason Meyers of California, 14-time “Driver of the Year” and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee Steve Kinser of Indiana, and All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) titlist Tim Shaffer of Pennsylvania. Rounding out the ‘top ten’ for the season are Speed Dawg Central Pennsylvania Point Series champion Greg Hodnett, Danny Lasoski, Jason Sides, Stevie Smith and Terry McCarl, respectively. Joey Saldana and Jason Meyers captured seven (7) and one (1) first-place votes, respectively.

Interestingly, it was NASCAR’s Kasey Kahne of Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) that earned the winged 410-cubic-inch sprint car “Team of the Year” award for his first-time ever. A three-time “Wild Card Award” recipient from the North American Sprint Car Poll himself, car owner Kahne utilized drivers Joey Saldana, Craig Dollansky, Brad Sweet and Cody Darrah in his winged machines in 2009.

Adam Wilt, the top rookie at both of the Lincoln and Williams Grove dirt tracks on the tough Central Pennsylvania circuit in 2009, has also earned the “Rookie of the Year” award in the ‘410’ division of the North American Sprint Car Poll. Following a tie in the voting, Steve Beitler of Skagit Speedway in the state of Washington and Steve Sinclair of the Interstate Racing Association (IRA) will share the “Promoter of the Year” honors. Sinclair is a three-time winner of this award, while Beitler will be a first-time recipient. Jack Elam of J&J Chassis, a 2009 inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, earned the “Builder/Manufacturer of the Year” plaque for the ‘410’ poll.

Joey Saldana, the leading feature winner on the ultra-tough WoO tour, was named the recipient of the “Wild Card Award” for his exciting ‘410’ sprint car performances. The “Media Member of the Year” honors will again be shared, due to a tie in the voting, this year between two past recipients, Tony Veneziano of the World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Car Series and Justin Zoch of FlatOut magazine.

The North American 410 Sprint Car Poll is an annual awards program of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum. All awards will be distributed in the spring of 2010 at tracks throughout North America. The awards were announced on the third day of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Final 2009 North American 410 Sprint Car Poll

rank, driver (first place votes), hometown, state/province, points

1., Donny Schatz (22), Fargo, ND, 2560
2., Joey Saldana (7), Brownsburg, IN, 1785
3., Jason Meyers (1), Clovis, CA, 1163
4., Steve Kinser, Bloomington, IN, 603
5., Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA, 504

6., Greg Hodnett, Memphis, TN, 437
7., Danny Lasoski, Higginsville, MO, 286
tie, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN, 286
9., Stevie Smith, New Oxford, PA, 241
10., Terry McCarl, Pleasant Hill, PA, 239

11., Dale Blaney, Fowler, OH, 227
12., Tyler Walker, Los Angeles, CA, 181
13., Craig Dollansky, Elk River, MN, 174
14., Tim Kaeding, Campbell, CA, 143
15., Cody Darrah, Red Lion, PA, 130

16., Fred Rahmer, Salfordville, PA, 120
17., Todd Shaffer, Millerstown, PA, 100
18., Johnny Herrera, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 94
19., Sammy Swindell, Bartlett, TN, 60
20., Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH, 58

21., Brian Montieth, Phoenixville, PA, 31
22., Jonathan Allard, Chico, CA, 20
23., Brent Kaeding, Campbell, CA, 17
24., Ed Lynch, Jr., Apollo, PA, 15
25., Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK, 14
tie, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK, 14

Also receiving multiple votes: Billy Balog, Brian Brown, Lance Dewease, Rod
George, Brock Mayes, Craig Mintz, Greg Wilson.