LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 3, 2012) – A number of individuals were personally recognized for outstanding efforts over the past year in front of their Sports Car Club of America peers during Saturday’s luncheon on the third day of the SCCA National Convention at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The luncheon, hosted by Raleigh Boreen, opened once again by welcoming the club’s partners and moved into the award ceremony.
David Steele was given the first award of the day, earning the Mechanic of the Year award for his efforts as crew chief on the GT-3 machine of Mike Henderson, who finished fourth at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs®. Steele has four national championships to his credit as a mechanic.
Eric Heinrich drove his No. 10 ElephantMotorsports.com/BFGoodrich Tires BMW M3 E30 to a third place finish in the STU class at the 2011 SCCA National Championship Runoffs®, an effort that earned Heinrich the Jim Fitzgerald Rookie of the Year Award.
“This is an incredibly humbling honor and incredibly encouraging at the same time, Heinrich said. “To be able to participate at this level of competition and to be successful is incredible. I never got the chance to meet Jim Fitzgerald, but from what I understand he won over 350 races in 30 years. I can only hope to achieve that level of success and inspire that many people down the road.”
The Kimberly Cup has been presented to the Club Racer who has been judged most improved by the Club Racing Board since 1954. Past winners include motorsports legends Roger Penske, Mark Donohue and Peter Revson, and this year Lee Alexander added his name to that distinguished list after a runner-up finish in D Sports Racing at the 2011 Runoffs.
“I’m not really sure what to say other than thanks to the board and the SCCA for this,” Alexander said. “I can’t really comment on my improvement, but I’d like to say thanks to the safety crews, the workers, and everyone who makes this possible.”
Kevin Fandozzi was recognized as the Road Race Drivers Club recipient of the Mark Donohue award for his spectacular Touring 3 National Championship at the Runoffs, an award that was presented to him before the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
The Solo department also recognized a number of award winners in front of the club.
Previously announced award winners were reintroduced, including Brianne Corn (Solo Driver of the Year), Jonathan Lugod (Solo Rookie of the Year), Matt McCabe (ProSolo JCJ Cup Champion), and the Atlanta Brotherhood (Johnson Spirit of the Sport Award).
Each of the nine Solo Triad Award winners from 2011 were entered into a drawing to win a lifetime SCCA membership. The Triad recognizes those drivers that win championships at three levels of National Solo competition: a Divisional Championship, a States Championship National Tour, and a National Championship, all in the same class.
Doug Rause’s name was pulled from the list of eligible drivers to claim the top prize.
In RoadRally, Subaru topped the participation list to earn the sport’s Manufacturer of the Year.
The luncheon ended with SCCA Chairman of the Board Jerry Wannarka on stage to present the Tom McKean Award, Given to an SCCA member for a single outstanding act of sportsmanship involving self-sacrifice. The award, presented only when a deserving member distinguishes his or her self, was awarded for the first time since 2002.
This year, Lewis Cooper III was selected by the Board of Directors when, during a double national at Road Atlanta, a turn one accident involving multiple cars left one upside down and on fire. Cooper, involved in the incident, unbuckled himself, grabbed a fire extinguisher, and helped his fellow competitor exit his car with no serious injuries.
The SCCA National Convention at the South Point Hotel and Casino continues through Saturday’s SCCA Hall of Fame Banquet, which will be streamed live at 7:00 p.m. PST on SCCA.com.