Shock and genuine surprise.
That was Jeff Gordon’s emotional reaction to being named the 2012 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Myers Brothers Award during Thursday’s traditional NASCAR/NMPA Myers Brothers Award luncheon at the Encore in Las Vegas.
“Oh boy, this is a surprise. I’m having a hard time composing myself,” said Gordon, during the Champion’s Week event. “Couldn’t someone have warned me first?”
Named for NASCAR racing pioneers Billy and Bob Myers, the award recognizes individuals and groups which have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. Past recipients are a virtual who’s-who of the industry – drivers, owners, track operators, sponsors and members of the media – and include nearly every current member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Gordon’s accomplishments are two-fold: his on-track success, which includes four NASCAR Sprint Cup championships and 87 victories; and his charitable activities when not competing.
“Off the track, he has raised countless funds for charity through his foundation for pediatric cancer research,” said Burt Myers, grandson of Billy Myers, upon presenting the award with brother Jason Myers to Gordon. “He has traveled to Rwanda to aid with health care as well as partnering with an organization to put it on the side of his race car as a drive to end hunger.”
“I am deeply honored, proud of the work that I do on and off the track,” said Gordon. “This is fantastic. Thank you.”
NASCAR Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Office Brian France congratulated 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champions Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske and the Miller Lite organization. France also commented on the youth movement in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and first-time events due to take place in both national series in 2013.
Also announced at Thursday’s luncheon was the NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award, given to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the 10th consecutive year. This now ties him with Bill Elliott as the only other drivers to be presented the award 10 straight years. Elliott, however, remains the all-time leader with 16 overall.
Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards
Myers Brothers Award: Jeff Gordon
NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Buddy Shuman Award: Ken Squier
NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Mars Inc.
3M Lap Leader Award: Jimmie Johnson
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Jimmie Johnson
Coors Light Pole Award: Jimmie Johnson
DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year Award: Matt Puccia, crew chief for Greg Biffle No. 16
Freescale Wide Open Award: Matt Kenseth
Goodyear Tires Award (Champion): Brad Keselowski
MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Shane Parsnow, Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Team
Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Michael Waltrip Racing No. 56 Team
Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Denny Hamlin
MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Steve Addington, crew chief for Tony Stewart No. 14
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award (Champion): Brad Keselowski
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Stephen Leicht
USG Improving the Finish Award: Tony Stewart
Champion Sponsor Award: Miller Lite
Champion Crew Chief: Paul Wolfe
Here is Friday’s final event – the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards – at a glance:
Friday, Nov. 30
· 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards: The postseason, black tie event will begin at 5 p.m. PT at Wynn Las Vegas, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion driver and owner will be crowned and the top 10 drivers in the final standings will be honored. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, the culmination of Champion’s Week, will feature red carpet arrivals, celebrity guests, music and entertainment. Hosted by “America’s Got Talent” judge Howie Mandel, the show will feature performances by Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and entertainers from The Beatles LOVE. SPEED, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide live coverage of the event. Prior to the awards, NASCAR.COM will live stream a Miss Sprint Cup chat with Brad Keselowski.