NASCAR Fan Award Winners

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The votes have been tallied and the results are in for RacingOne.com's annual NASCAR fan awards. Twelve categories from the 2008 season were voted on including driver of the year, best commercial and biggest disappointment.

Driver of the Year
Three drivers, who turned in stellar NASCAR seasons, were nominated by RacingOne for the honor of driver of the year in 2008. Carl Edwards was one of the most impressive after winning a series-leading nine races. Kyle Busch was another driver of note, as he showed what he was made of in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing by winning eight races in the season's first 22 races. But, RacingOne picked Jimmie Johnson as the driver of the year, after he had another consistent season en route to his third consecutive championship.

Voters didn't quite agree with our pick and instead cast more votes for Carl Edwards. He brought home 48.9% of the poll results to Johnson's 39.8%.

Fan Comments
Jimmie Johnson, who else besides Cale has three in a row? And we will have to see how long it takes someone else to do it!
-Robert Patton Jr.

My wife and I select Carl Edwards for his stellar performance throughout the year and his overall demeanor.
-Jack Thomas

I am a big fan of Hendrick Motorsports, but feel that Carl Edwards was consistently the best driver on the track in 2008.
-R. Lamartiniere

Owner of the Year
Four owners were nominated by RacingOne.com for owner of the year in 2008. Rick Hendrick was up for the honor for the second consecutive year after scoring his eighth Cup Series championship. Richard Childress was nominated after winning the Nationwide Series championship and having all three of his drivers finish well in the Chase. Bill Davis was the third owner nominated after winning his first truck title. But, RacingOne bestowed the honor of owner of the year on JD and Joe Gibbs for their team's success, controversy and major changes in 2008. JGR saw its gamble on Kyle Busch and Toyota pay off after winning eight races in the season's first 22.

Voters agreed with us in the polls, giving Joe and JD Gibbs the most votes. Richard Childress came in a close second.

Fan Comments
Robbie Gordon!! The ONLY owner, driver on the circuit for several years. Give him some press. The rest of the bunch are cookie cutters.
-Mike Farley

Richard Childress might not have the flashiest team but he sure has put together a consistent team!
-Jake Stewart

Biggest Story
The year didn't disappoint with major stories breaking from start to finish. The season started off with several drivers debuting with new teams, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. with Hendrick Motorsports. Junior continued to remain in the headlines all season. That wasn't the only story with Hendrick, as the team was able to capture its third consecutive championship with Jimmie Johnson. Other stories included the announcement that Tony Stewart would start his own operation with the formation of Stewart-Haas Racing and Michael McDowell walking away from a horrific crash at Texas. But the biggest story, as chosen by RacingOne, was the economy's downturn and its effect on racing. That story will most likely overshadow most of 2009 as well.

Readers voted overwhelmingly for two stories in the polls - Tony Stewart's new team and the economy. The economy received the most votes, though.

Fan Comments
Smoke leaves Gibbs to form own team. Enough said.
-Josh Briggs

Helio Castroneves indicted on federal tax evasion charges / Team Penske's dillema of preparing No. 3 car and team for the upcoming season.
-John Wells

Biggest Disappointment
The 2008 season was great for some but tough for others including drivers, teams and even some races and tracks as we pick the biggest disappointment of the past racing year. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first season with Hendrick, Penske Racing's failure to capitalize on Daytona success and Mansfield Motorsports Park and Chip Ganassi's No. 40 team both closing its doors were all disappointing in 2008. RacingOne felt though, that the tire plagued Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was most disappointing of all as we had to watch caution lap after caution lap.

Readers agreed and almost 50% of voters thought that the Allstate 400 was the biggest disappointment of 2008.

Fan Comments
My biggest disappointment was Jeff Gordon going winless this year.
-Joanne Callahan

I am disappointed to see Dario Franchitti leave NASCAR. I'll miss seeing Ashley Judd around the pits in her flip flops.
-Joey Manchester

Most Improved Driver
Several drivers made great strides in 2008 including David Ragan and Jamie McMurray at Roush Fenway Racing, AJ Allmendinger, who spent time at Team Red Bull Racing and GEM, and Scott Speed, who wound up with a full-time ride in 2009. Ragan's turnaround in his sophomore year as he finished 13th in the Chase, garnered the honor by RacingOne.

But readers overwhelmingly felt that AJ Allmendinger was the most improved driver on the circuit, as he received over 60% of the vote.

Fan Comments
What about Travis Kvapil?
-Sheila Anderson

David Ragan sure looked like a completely different driver this year.
-Tim Miller

Best Paint Scheme
The 2008 season saw, once again, a number of special paint schemes that recognized a number of things including movies, racing history and the Armed Forces. Some of our favorites include Kyle Busch's Indiana Jones M&M's Darlington car, Jimmie Johnson's JJ Foundation Auto Club Speedway car, Jeff Gordon's Nicorette Atlanta car and Bobby Labonte/Kyle Petty's Petty 50 Years Chicago car. The best paint scheme, though, was Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s retro Mountain Dew scheme that he ran at Darlington Raceway.

Readers thought that Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty's paint schemes were the best of the bunch in 2008. They garnered over 65% of the poll's votes.

Fan Comments
Mountain Dew Retro!!!
-Gene Scott

That Indiana Jones paint scheme was the best thing to come out of that movie
-Calvin Brown

Best Commercial
It was a pretty good year for the NASCAR television commercial line-up with several solid efforts gracing the airwaves including Toyota, Tylenol, Home Depot, Allstate and NAPA commercials. But the winner of this year's award was Carl Edwards being upstaged by the AFLAC duck in one spot where the feathered spokesperson backflips off the roof of a car, much to the delight of a bevy of young women.

Voting was close, but in the end, Home Depot's changing of the guard commercial with Tony Stewart and Joey Logano was the fan's favorite.

Fan Comments
I vote for the Aflac commercial.
-Lyle Bourgeois

Michael and his sponsor just continue to make fun of his current on track record. NAPA commercial was the best.
-Ann Thomas

Kasey looked like a fool dancing out there. I hope Allstate paid him a lot of cash to do that.
-Justin Owen

Best Confrontation
NASCAR's mandate to get "back to basics" at the beginning of the season excited many long-time race fans who wanted the sport to return to its roots. The origins of stock car racing were filled with many on and off track confrontations between drivers so the many scuffles that dotted NASCAR 2008 were indeed throwbacks to the roots of the sport. Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch kicked off the year with a tangle at Speedweeks. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski got into it at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Nationwide Series, with their battle boiling over into the post-race press conference. RacingOne thought the best tangle of the year, though, was Kevin Harvick and Carl Edward's much publicized spat.

Readers disagreed though and thought that the battle between the teams of David Starr and Todd Bodine at the New Hampshire Truck Race was the best.

Fan Comments
Nothing like a good old fashioned brawl on live TV. My favorite was the team's of Starr and Bodine duking it out at New Hampshire.
-James Duncan

Best Cup Race
Several races were nominated for the best Cup race of the season including the 50th running of the Daytona 500, the Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond, the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland, the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, both Camping World RV 400s at Dover and Kansas, and the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. RacingOne feels that the 50th running of the Daytona 500 was the best Cup race of 2008.

Readers felt though that the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway was the best race of 2008 giving it over 44% of the vote.

Fan Comments
Camping world 400 at Dover
-Derek Christie

I really enjoyed watching Smoke win one last race with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008 at Talladega Superspeedway.
-Peggy Samuel

Best Nationwide Race
Several races were nominated for the best Nationwide race of the season including the season opening Camping World 300 at Daytona, the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas, the Aaron's 312 at Talladega, the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville, the Meijer 300 at Kentucky, the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Montreal, the Food City 250 at Bristol, the Kroger 250 at Memphis and the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. RacingOne thinks Joey Logano's victory in the Meijer 300 was the best race of 2009 as it saw Logano become the youngest winner in the sport's history.

Readers also thought that Logano's first win was the best Nationwide race, voting over 66% for that race.

Fan Comments
Way to go Brad Keselowski! Showing em what you're made of at Bristol was the best race in my opinion.
-Joe McDonnell

Best Truck Race
Several races were nominated for the best Truck Series race of the season including the Chevy Silverado 250 at Daytona, the Kroger 250 at Martinsville, the Ohio 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Park, the Cool City Customs 200 at Michigan, the O'Reilly 200 at Bristol, the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega, the E-Z-Go 200 at Atlanta and the Ford 200 at Homestead. RacingOne feels that the championship-deciding season finale at Homestead was the best truck race of 2008.

Voters also thought that was the best race of 2008, giving it 48% of the vote.

Fan Comments
Ryan Newman winning in his first career truck race was amazing!
-Shannon Thatcher

Best TV Show
The television airwaves are full of original programming designed to give viewers the latest news and entertainment features about their favorite sport. For the second year-in-a-row, RacingOne's choice for "must see TV' for every NASCAR fan is SPEED's "NASCAR RaceDay" preview show which gives viewers the definitive prep for that week's race. Other nominees included "NASCAR Today," "This Week in NASCAR," the networks' Pre-Race shows and "Wind Tunnel."

Voters felt that "Wind Tunnel" was the best show of 2008, with 35% of the vote.

Fan Comments:
"Wind Tunnel"
-Blaine

I like how "RaceDay" reports directly from the garage. That Wendy is a sweetheart.
-Dorothy McNab

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