Stewart up for Mario Andretti Trophy

SPEED Performer of the Year Award considers all major motorsport disciplines

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 09, 2008
AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year James Stewart has been named a finalist for another accolade.

Stewart has been named one of the 11 nominees for the third annual SPEED Performer of the Year Award which recognizes performers from all major motorsport disciplines. Stewart and the other finalists were nominated by a 15-member panel of experts including auto racing icon Mario Andretti. The winner, who will be announced as part of a one-hour television special in February 2009, will receive the Mario Andretti Trophy.

“This is the only award that considers all the major disciplines of motorsports,” says Andretti. “Because of that, it’s a daunting job for the individuals tasked with selecting a winner. Because all the different series are included, you’ve got a bigger and deeper pool of talent from which to select a performer of the year. What I also like is that the criteria for this award is not just about winning championships. The ultimate performer of the year doesn’t have to be the series champion – he just needs to have driven with gusto.”

Stewart will be up against some very strong competition. The other SPEED Performer of the Year award finalists include MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi; Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa; NASCAR drivers Jimmy Johnson, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch; IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon; NHRA drag racer Tony Schumacher; World of Outlaws Sprint Car Champion Donny Schatz; and USAC Silver Crown winner Jerry Coons Jr.

The accolades keep coming for James Stewart.Stewart’s nomination recognizes his achievement in becoming the second rider to complete a perfect motocross season, winning all 24 motos to claim the 2008 AMA Motocross Championship. Stewart was also a member of the three-rider American team that won the 2008 FIM Motocross of Nations.

“When the AMA honored James Stewart with the AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year award, we recognized not just his standout performance in motorcycle racing, but his status as one of the top athletes in the world today,” says Rob Dingman, AMA president and chief executive officer. “Although all of the nominees for SPEED Performer of the Year are incredible competitors, we humbly submit that James’ historic performance this year in one of the toughest and most unpredictable racing disciplines in the world makes him a clear front-runner for this exceptional honor.”

The SPEED Performer of the Year winner will be chosen by a panel consisting of Andretti, “Wind Tunnel” host Dave Despain, broadcasters Bob Varsha and Ralph Shaheen,’s Robin Miller and Tom Jensen, and racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder.