DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2014) - Lawrence Loshak, who was named the 43rd recipient of the RRDC Mark Donohue Award at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs last September, was presented the unique trophy at the annual Road Racing Drivers Club dinner in Daytona Beach. A record number of RRDC members and their guests attended the dinner, held prior to the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
RRDC president Bobby Rahal and RRDC members Dorsey Schroeder and Mark Donohue's son David made the presentation of the "coffee table" with an engraved glass top mounted on a special, racing-experienced wheel, provided by an RRDC member. This one was donated by Rahal on behalf of Rahal, Letterman, Lanigan Racing: a rear wheel mounted on the BMW Team RLL BMW Z4GTEs running in the ALMS GT category in 2013.
"This award for 43 years has gone to the driver at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs who the RRDC members feel exhibited the most outstanding performance of the weekend in terms of personal spirit and performance behind the wheel, " said Donohue. "There are two important aspects to being eligible for this award: one, you don't have to actually win the race or be the champion, and the other is the winner is chosen by RRDC members, who view each race and can identify each driver's talent and effort."
Loshak, 36, of Grafton, Wis., won two SCCA championships ar Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. - Formula 1000 and H Production. His outstanding Formula 1000 drive from last to first on a wet track was judged the performance of the weekend by the 20 RRDC members present who constituted the RRDC Donohue Award selection committee.
Although he had claimed pole position in Formula 1000, a misinterpretation of the schedule caused him to arrive late to the grid, and he was relegated to the rear. Loshak passed 16 cars on the first lap in the rain, then went on to win the race.
"One of the things that is so pleasurable for me," said Schroeder, a retired race-car driver turned TV commentator, "is to attend the amateur SCCA Runoffs. It's our heritage, our lineage, it's what we all came from, and it still is.
"There's one race in each class, and it's a half-hour long. You give it your best, your crew does its best for you and that one race sometimes changes your life. That race is the most important thing on that day.
"There are a lot of races at the Runoffs, there are a lot of drivers we have to look at. You have to be outstanding to get our attention, and Lawrence Loshak got our attention, big time."
Said Loshak, "To be here tonight meeting people that I've always read about, always idolized, is pretty overwhelming.
"This award means so much, especially at this time of my life. I've always heard of the Award, read about it, and I never thought I would be the one receiving it. It's just amazing. I have trouble putting it into words. To be sitting here in this room and being brought up on the stage and the spotlight is on me? It's overwhelming, and epic, and fantastic."
About the RRDC:
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club’s membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.
In 2011, the RRDC launched a free on-line training seminar – www.SAFEisFAST.com – featuring more than 30 RRDC members and other industry experts in high-quality videos covering subjects from physical and mental preparation to driving techniques, driver safety to car setup and sponsorship. The videos are updated regularly. Each week, a professional from the world of motor racing answers readers' questions on the site in a feature called “Ask a Pro."
President Bobby Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 winner and is co-owner with David Letterman and Mike Lanigan of the 2004 Indianapolis 500-winning Rahal, Letterman, Lanigan Racing team. Ten-time SCCA National champion John Fergus (who also has three Pro Sports 2000 crowns and one IMSA championship) is the Club’s Vice President/Treasurer, and five-time SCCA National champion Tom Davey is the Secretary.
In addition to RRDC members lending their expertise to up-and-coming drivers, the Club presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award for rendering outstanding service to road racing; the Mark Donohue Award for personal spirit and performance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs; and the Bob Akin Award – the top award presented to amateur and semi-professional racers – for speed with style, passion, sportsmanship and contribution to motorsports.
The RRDC also supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990. Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. Additional information on the organization may be found at www.rrdc.org.