Speedway Digest Staff
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The wait is over. The 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season has arrived.
After three days of on-track action during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Presented by INX, Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile tri-oval now turns its focus to the 60th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA - North America’s most prestigious sports car race - this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 29-30. The WeatherTech Championship classes hit the track Thursday through Sunday for practice sessions.
Tickets are available for the week’s activities and include the below. For all ticket information for the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA weekend, log onto www.
4-Day Adult Tickets: $125 (Infield/Frontstretch/Garage Access); Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sat-Sun Adult Tickets: $75 (Infield/Frontstretch/Garage Access); Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sat-Sun Adult Tickets: $50 (Infield, Frontstretch Access): Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sat-Sun Adult Tickets: $50 (Unreserved Frontstrech Seating): Kids 12-and-under FREE
Friday Adult Tickets: $30 (Unreserved Frontstrech Seating): Kids 12-and-under FREE
Sunday Adult Tickets: $35 (Unreserved Frontstrech Seating): Kids 12-and-under FREE
A packed field of 61 cars is entered, the most in eight years. To help familiarize you with some of them, IMSA.com has compiled a team-by-team capsule list of the incredible DPi class which features a “who’s who’ in motorsports. Take a look below.
No. 01 Cadillac V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi V.R
Renger van der Zande/Sebastien Bourdais/Scott Dixon/ Alex Palou
Van der Zande returns to the No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac a year after a heartbreaking end to the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona. He was leading when a flat tire forced him to the pits with less than eight minutes remaining in the 24-hour race.
This time, van der Zande will team with four-time IndyCar champion Bourdais, six-time IndyCar champion Dixon and reigning IndyCar champion Palou.
Bourdais returns to Chip Ganassi Racing, which hired him to drive for its GT Le Mans (GTLM) program from 2016 through 2019, including a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016. Bourdais has driven a Cadillac DPi-V.R the past two seasons for JDC-Miller MotorSports, earning a victory at Sebring last year.
Dixon is tied for seventh place all time for Rolex overall wins with three (2006, 2015 and 2020). Dixon also helped Ganassi win the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class at the Rolex in 2018.
Van der Zande, a two-time Rolex 24 winner, teamed with Jordan Taylor, Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi to win the 2019 race for Wayne Taylor Racing. In 2020, he won it with Dixon, Kobayashi and Ryan Briscoe. It will be the first Rolex 24 for Palou.
Chip Ganassi Racing has eight Rolex 24 victories, including three in a row in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi V.R
Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Marcus Ericsson/Kevin Magnussen
Chip Ganassi Racing has added a second DPi entry for the Rolex 24 and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for 2022, with veteran racers Bamber and Lynn sharing the fulltime driving duties and former Formula One drivers Ericsson and Magnussen sharing the endurance roles.
Lynn is a Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winner in a Cadillac DPi in 2017 with Wayne Taylor Racing. He was the GP3 Series champion in 2014 and the British Formula Renault champion in 2010 and 2011.
Bamber, who co-drove the No. 01 Cadillac in the 2021 season finale, is a two-time overall winner at Le Mans as part of the Porsche LMP1 program. He also won the 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTLM title.
Magnussen, the son of former Formula One driver and IMSA great Jan Magnussen, moved from Formula One to IMSA last year. He has 35 top-10 finishes in 119 F1 races.
Ericsson, who has 97 F1 starts on his resume and won two IndyCar races last year for CGR, is making his IMSA debut.
No. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi V.R
Tristan Vautier/Richard Westbrook/Loic Duval/Ben Keating
Minnesota-based JDC-Miller MotorSports returns to the Rolex 24 with Westbrook joining returning driver Vautier as full-season drivers and Duval and Keating joining in endurance roles.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac recorded two podium finishes in 2021, including a victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
“It’s great to have Loic and Tristan back for 2022, and we welcome Richard and Ben to the program,” said John Church, managing partner of JDC-Miller MotorSports. “2021 was a challenging year for us. We were super competitive at Daytona until we had contact, then we bounced back and won the race at Sebring. But after that we got a little unlucky at several of the races. We know we had the speed but just never got the results.”
Vautier, who joined JDC-Miller in 2018, has five IMSA podiums to his credit, including last year’s Sebring triumph. Westbrook won the GTLM class at the Rolex 24 in 2018 in a Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT with Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe. Keating is IMSA’s reigning Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) champion and will also be driving in that class in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry.
No. 10 Konica Minolta/Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05
Ricky Taylor/Filipe Albuquerque/Alexander Rossi/Will Stevens
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 claimed the class and overall Rolex 24 victory a year ago, and three of its drivers –Albuquerque, Taylor and Rossi – are back along with newcomer Stevens.
Taylor, son of team owner Wayne Taylor, returned to the No. 10 team last year after a three-year run with Acura Team Penske. Ricky Taylor’s WeatherTech Championship résumé includes 27 victories, 23 pole positions and 64 podium finishes, including wins at IMSA’s marquee endurance events – the Rolex 24, Twelve Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of the Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans.
Albuquerque, a multiple race winner last year in the FIA World Endurance Championship, is the 2020 European Le Mans Series champion and LMP2 WEC champion. He helped WTR win three WeatherTech Championship races in 2021, including the Rolex 24 and a runner-up in a championship battle that came down to the final turn of the final lap in Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in November.
Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner, helped WTR claim the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup in his role as the team’s parttime endurance specialist. Stevens, Rossi’s former teammate in Formula One, is an F1 test driver for McLaren and a standout in the WEC and ELMS.
WTR has won the past three consecutive Rolex 24s and four of the past five. The team’s Rolex history includes 12 top-five finishes and nine podium finishes.
No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
Pipo Derani/Tristan Nunez/Mike Conway
After Derani and Felipe Nasr teamed to win the WeatherTech Championship DPi championship with the Whelen Engineering car in November, Nasr moved on to Team Penske’s new entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as an endurance driving role with Pfaff Motorsports’ GTD PRO class Porsche in the WeatherTech Championship. He will be replaced in the No. 31 by Nunez, with Conway returning to his role as the team’s endurance specialist.
Derani, the only Brazilian driver to win the Rolex 24 and Twelve Hours of Sebring in the same season (2016), has 11 victories during his eight IMSA seasons. The 2021 DPi championship was Action Express’ fourth since 2014. It also has six Michelin Endurance Cup championships.
A former Mazda factory driver, Nunez joined WIN Autosport last season, claiming the LMP2 victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. In 2020, he helped Mazda take the overall and DPi class victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Conway, a veteran of British Formula 3, GP2 and IndyCar, helped Toyota Gazoo Racing win titles in WEC in 2020 and 2021. He also won the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-drivers Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi, who also are in this year's Rolex 24 field.
No. 48 Ally/Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
Mike Rockenfeller/Kamui Kobayashi/Jimmie Johnson/Jose Maria Lopez
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and two-time DAYTONA 500 Champion Johnson will share the duties with two-time Rolex 24 winner Kobayashi, former Corvette Racing and Audi prototype driver Rockenfeller, and Lopez, who has won WEC titles the past two seasons. Kobayashi and Lopez also combined to win last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans with teammate Mike Conway. For the second straight year, the No. 48 Cadillac will compete in the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds of the WeatherTech Championship schedule.
Johnson also is competing in the IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing this season. He won 83 NASCAR races, including two Daytona 500s, during his 20-year career.
Kobayashi's career includes 76 F1 starts, the LMP1 victory in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the WEC championship. Rockenfeller is an Audi factory driver competing in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM). He has two class wins at Le Mans.
“The Rolex 24 At Daytona is one of the marquee races in the world,” Johnson said last year before his first attempt at the race. “It’s such a challenging event for both team and driver and requires such a high level of concentration throughout. It’s just such a fun and unique race to compete in.”
No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05
Oliver Jarvis/Tom Blomqvist/Helio Castroneves/Simon Pagenaud
Meyer Shank Racing revamped its Rolex 24 lineup for its 19th season in the WeatherTech Championship with a return to the series’ top class. Jarvis and Blomqvist share the fulltime duties, while IndyCar drivers Castroneves and Pagenaud take over the endurance roles.
Jarvis moves from his position with Mazda’s now-defunct DPi program to the Meyer Shank Acura. He has three LMP1 podium finishes at Le Mans and claimed the LMP2 class victory there in 2017. Jarvis has been a fulltime participant in DPi since 2018 and helped Mazda win its farewell to the class at Motul Petit Le Mans in November.
Blomqvist, who was added to the MSR lineup in November, has experience in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP2 class, with a victory in the 2018 24 Hours of Spa to his credit. He previously raced in the WeatherTech Championship as part of the BMW Team RLL program.
Castroneves and Pagenaud were longtime teammates in Team Penske’s IndyCar program, and both continue there this season with Meyer Shank. Castroneves won the Indy 500 last May, the record-tying fourth of his career. Pagenaud won the Indy 500 in 2019 and was the 2016 IndyCar Series champion.
Once the checkered flag falls on the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, the World Center of Racing will begin its focus on DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth (Feb. 15-20) and the 64th Annual DAYTONA 500. The week will feature six days of incredible on-track action with practices, qualifying and a total of six races among four different series. It will allow fans several possibilities to see the NASCAR Cup Series’ Next Gen car, plus some of the greatest drivers in the world in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, as well as the ARCA Menards Series.
For ticket information on Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth events, log onto www.DAYTONA500.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP. If fans are looking to buy or sell reserved seats for the DAYTONA 500, please visit SeatGeek, the Preferred Ticket Exchange of the DAYTONA 500 and Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth.
Bakersfield’s Derek Thorn returns to Wisconsin in 2022 with the addition of the 43rd Slinger Nationals on July 12 to his schedule of marquee Super Late Model races across the country. Thorn will be making just his fourth career start in the Badger state and first since 2008 when he raced in the former ASA Late Model Challenge.
Thorn, will drive an Apel Racing Inc. prepared #43 PepperJack Kennels/Tool Shack Toyota Camry with his normal Campbell Motorsport team and crew chief Mike Keen at the helm. The high-banked quarter-mile has seen the biggest names in the sport take the checkered flag such as NASCAR Cup Series champions Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, and the legendary Rich Bickle. Thorn looks to add his name to the prestigious list of champions of the Slinger Nationals.
“All of us at Apel Racing are extremely excited to work with one of the best in the business. We look forward to building a great relationship with Derek, Campbell Motorsports, and PepperJack Kennels!” owner Steve Apel stated.
PepperJack Kennels’ world-class summer location in Woodville, Wisconsin is just a few hours northwest of Slinger Speedway, making the event a “home race” for Thorn’s primary 2022 partner. Other major partners include The Tool Shack, Power Grade Inc., Double Eagle Transportation, and Reeves Complete Auto Center.
“We had the Slinger Nationals on our radar for 2022 from the beginning planning discussions of the season. The team just needed the right situation and funding to get put in place to make it work,” said PepperJack Kennels owner Misty Melo. “My husband and I are very excited to be racing in our backyard and can’t thank Steve Apel of ARI and all of Derek’s partners for helping make this happen,” Melo added.
Race broadcast information for the Slinger Nationals is to be announced. The event joins a busy season for Derek Thorn that opens on February 5th at the $25,000-to-win All-Star Showdown at California’s Irwindale Speedway. Thorn will race at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway in two events: the double-header Southern Super Series weekend on April 8th-9th and in December’s Snowflake 100 and 55th Snowball Derby. April’s PepperJack Kennels Twin 100s will pay $10,000-to-win each night along with a bonus to win both nights with details to be announced.
A trip to Marne, Michigan for Berlin Raceway’s Battle at Berlin is on tap for August 10th as well. The All-American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds is scheduled for October 29th. Thorn, Crew Chief Mike Keen, and the entire Campbell Motorsports team is looking forward to an exciting national season of Pro and Super Late Model competition.
Partnership packages are still available to join Campbell Motorsports for businesses of all sizes. To partner with one of the most decorated teams and driver within asphalt short-track racing, please contact Marty Melo at (530) 941-5642.
Campbell Motorsports and Derek Thorn are supported by,
PepperJack Kennels, Tool Shack, Power Grade Inc., Double Eagle Produce and Transportation, Reeves Complete Auto Center, Family Funeral & Cremation, Destined4Destruction Action Figure, Fury Race Cars, Essex AP Racing, Swift Springs, JRI Shocks, Magnus, Tilton, Finishline Signs, Five Star Body, Performance Parts and Supply, Joiner Motorsports, Bassett, K1 Race Gear, Hightower Racing Transmissions Inc., Butler Built, Strange oval, West Air, Triple R Transportation, Joes Racing Products, Blakesley Sports Media, 9D Creative and Seal Master of Bakersfield.
Derek Thorn PR
The fan-favorite NASCAR Hauler Parade is returning to Las Vegas.
NASCAR fans can see their favorite drivers’ haulers make their way up the Las Vegas Strip beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday, March 3, as Las Vegas Motor Speedway kicks off the spring 2022 NASCAR Weekend. The parade is a favorite among racing fans and will begin in front of the Luxor Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Approximately 40 brightly colored, 18-wheeled NASCAR Cup Series haulers will receive a police escort as they drive north on the Strip before making their way onto Interstate 15 at Sahara Avenue and head for the 1.5-mile superspeedway. All trucks will stage earlier in the day at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa.
The haulers will proceed to Speedway Boulevard and make their way through the LVMS tunnel under turns 1 and 2 to their garage stalls outside the Neon Garage. A much-anticipated convoy, the hauler parade is a great way for NASCAR fans to get excited about the action-packed weekend that awaits them March 4-6.
“We’re so excited to bring the hauler parade back,” said LVMS President Chris Powell. “It’s quite a thrill to see the beautifully wrapped NASCAR haulers take over the Las Vegas Strip. We’re always looking to expand and offer fans innovative ways to enjoy the sport we all love, and we’d like to thank NASCAR teams, our area governments and local law enforcement for helping make this happen. It’s going to be a great kickoff to a highly anticipated NASCAR weekend, and we can’t wait for it all to begin in a few short weeks.”
LVMS’s spring 2022 NASCAR Weekend begins with the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 Presented by Westgate Resorts NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, March 4. The Alsco Uniforms 300 NASCAR Xfinity race will be Saturday, March 5 and the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube will run on Sunday, March 6. There also will be practice and qualifying for all three series this year.
All children 12 and under get in free on Friday and Saturday with a ticketed adult and can attend the Pennzoil 400 alongside a ticketed adult for just $10 on Sunday. Call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to LVMS.com to order tickets, purchase upgrades or special access passes.
Pocono Raceway’s 50-Amp Infield and Trackside GEICO Family Grandstand Camping areas are already sold-out ahead of the 2022 NASCAR weekend at ‘The Tricky Triangle.’ Coming off a complete sell-out in 2021, momentum continues for Pocono Raceway with less than 10 premier Fenceline and 50-Amp GEICO Grandstand camping spots available. Camping guests will enjoy a 4-night immersive camping and entertainment experience from July 21-24.
To purchase a reserved or general admission campsite, while supplies last, please visit www.poconoraceway.com/camping or call our Ticket Office at 1-800-722-3929. Remaining committed to growing the sport, kids ages 12 and under receive both camping and reserved grandstand admission for free.
“We saw the largest overnight camping crowd in history last year for our NASCAR weekend,” said Raceway President, Ben May. “Excitement from our camping guests is at an all-time high and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back this July.”
Camping guests will enjoy three nights of live music and entertainment at the Infield Block Party on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, daily programming for all ages at the Pocono Mountains Activities & Welcome Center, Saturday night fireworks show, the ability to enjoy the first-ever dog park (Pocono Raceway’s Bark Park) at a NASCAR track and the chance for kids of all abilities to learn, grow and play at the 5,000 square feet #POCONOMTNS Inclusive Playground. In addition to these great perks, camping guests receive complimentary access to the Grandstands for the General Tire 200 ARCA Menards Series race and access to Fan Fair all weekend.
2022 NASCAR Schedule of Events –
- Friday, July 22 – General Tire 200 - ARCA Menards Series
- Saturday, July 23 – CRC Brakleen 150 - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
- Saturday July 23 – NASCAR Xfinity Series
- Sunday, July 24 – NASCAR Cup Series
Pocono Raceway PR
Jimmy White has been named the 2021 winner of the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award from the National Motorsports Press Association.
White spent the last four years as the media relations representative for Brad Keselowski at Team Penske. An industry veteran with experience working for teams, manufacturers, and contingency programs, White is a friendly face in the garage and worked hard to accommodate any request.
The 2021 season was a unique one for White as he helped Keselowski navigate his final year driving for legendary team owner Roger Penske. Just part of his responsibilities included coordinating Keselowski’s schedule and media obligations, working closely with the team’s partners, and gathering content.
The Ken Patterson Helping Others Award is presented annually and voted on by NMPA membership. It recognizes a public relations representative in the motorsports industry “who has exhibited the kind, generous qualities that Patterson always demonstrated.”
It is the second time White has received the award. White was named the recipient in 2006 for his work with the Raybestos Rookie of the Year program.
White has also served in a media relations capacity for Brad Keselowski Racing, Darnell Communications, and Roush Fenway Racing. White has worked with companies including USAir, Jasper Engines, and Shell Oil.
In addition to the award, Talladega Superspeedway will donate $1,000 in the winner’s name to the Kenneth Patterson Education Trust Fund.
The late Robin Miller, who passed away in August at the age of 71, is the winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award for the third quarter of 2021, NMPA president Kelly Crandall announced Sunday at the NMPA awards luncheon at the Hendrick Motorsports Team Center.
Miller’s long-time friend and fellow IndyCar reporter Bruce Martin accepted the award on his behalf.
Miller rose to prominence as an IndyCar journalist during his lengthy career with the Indianapolis Star, where he worked from 1968 to 2001. Among writers covering the IndyCar Series, Miller was acknowledged as the foremost authority, given his knowledge of the garage and the depth of his contacts.
From a journalistic standpoint, Miller pulled no punches and earned well-deserved acclaim—and no small amount of controversy—for his no-holds-barred approach to reporting.
Born in 1949 in Anderson, Indiana, Miller also worked for ESPN, Speed, Autoweek, Car and Driver and Racer magazine, to name a few. At the time of his death, he was reporting for Racer and for NBCSN.
Miller announced in July 2021 that he had been diagnosed with terminal leukemia. He passed away on August 25. In October, Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted an invitation-only celebration of his life that was limited to 400 of his friends. Attendees included speedway owner Roger Penske and IndyCar legends A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.
Miller was selected for the third-quarter NMPA Pocono Spirit Award by vote of the NMPA membership, thus earning eligibility for the overall 2021 award.
Other quarterly winners were Camping World chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis, Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation and Martin Truex Jr./Sherry Pollex.
Established in 1992 and supported by Pocono Raceway, The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.
Bristol Motor Speedway is the 2021 recipient of the Joe Littlejohn Award for service to the National Motorsports Press Association, outgoing NMPA president Reid Spencer announced on Sunday.
The legendary short track in Tennessee is a long-time supporter of the NMPA through recurring sponsorship of the NMPA Hall of Fame reception. This year, Bristol has joined with Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Charlotte Motor Speedway to continue that sponsorship role.
“One of the most pleasurable aspects of the NMPA presidency is the task of choosing the Joe Littlejohn recipient,” Spencer said. “The recognition of Bristol Motor Speedway as a faithful friend of the NMPA is long overdue.
“In addition to its sponsorship, Bristol is one of the most media-friendly race tracks on the NASCAR schedule. Whenever we arrive to cover a race, we feel welcome. And the view from the press box there is one of the best in the world.”
Bristol Motor Speedway bills itself as “The Last Great Coliseum,” a moniker it richly deserves after Speedway Motorsports founder Bruton Smith transformed the Tennessee short track into an opulent facility that can seat more than 150,000 fans.
The Joe Littlejohn Award is presented each year to a person or persons, or an organization, in recognition for or outstanding service to the NMPA.
The award is named for the former track owner from Spartanburg, S.C., who also was a competitor in the sport. Littlejohn is credited with two career NASCAR starts, but raced extensively before the formation of NASCAR.
Harry Hyde has been named the 2021 recipient of the Wood Brothers Award of Excellence by the National Motorsports Press Association.
Hyde is the third recipient of the award, which is voted on by a special committee that includes members of the famed Wood family. The award was created to honor crew members, crew chiefs, engine builders, and race engineers for their outstanding contributions to NASCAR.
Hyde was the crew chief who guided some of NASCAR’s biggest stars to their first career wins during a career that spanned nearly three decades. Dave Marcis, Neil Bonnett, and Geoff Bodine included.
But the pairing of Hyde and Bobby Isaac will go down in the history books. Hyde and Isaac won 17 times in 1969 to go along with a record 19 poles. A year later, Hyde led Isaac to the NASCAR premier series title on the strength of 11 wins. In three consecutive seasons (1969-1971), Hyde and Isaac won 32 races.
Although Hyde never won another championship, he continued to win with a magnitude of drivers. Buddy Baker and Ken Schrader won with Hyde, as did the immensely talented Tim Richmond.
Hyde worked with Richmond in 1986 and won seven races. Among those wins was a sweep of Pocono Raceway
A NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, Hyde’s resume is impressive. A winner of 56 races and 88 poles in 659 starts, he was also the inspiration for Robert Duvall’s character Harry Hogge in the hit movie Days of Thunder.
Previous winners of the Wood Brothers Award of Excellence are Dale Inman (2019) and Leonard Wood (2020).
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series, has been named the recipient of the Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award for 2021 by the National Motorsports Press Association.
The accomplishments that made Larson the overwhelming choice of the NMPA membership are many and varied. In the Cup Series, he won a career-best 10 races on the way to his first championship, which he sealed with a victory in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway. In addition to his accomplishments on pavement, Larson won three of the crown jewels of dirt racing—the Chili Bowl Nationals for midget racers (his second straight) and the Knoxville Nationals and Kings Royal for winged sprint cars.
“It’s an honor to receive the NMPA Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award,” Larson said. “2021 was a great year in all the different cars I got to race…
“I hope I can repeat this success year after year, but I know it’ll be tough. I also want to say thank you to the press and all the media members for covering the sport we all love—and look forward to a new year.”
The award was announced Sunday, Jan. 23 as part of the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony held at the Hendrick Motorsports Team Center in Concord, N.C.
The Richard Petty Driver of the Year award has been presented annually since 1969 to recognize the season’s most outstanding driver. It is named in honor of the seven-time NASCAR premier series champion.