Media group honors Linda Vaughn, ‘First Lady of Auto Racing’

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source: Getty Images
Linda Vaughn (Photo: Getty Images)

Longtime motorsports ambassador and popular fan favorite Linda Vaughn has been named the first recipient of an honorary Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations.

The award was announced last week by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA).

Known as “The First Lady of Auto Racing” and “Miss Hurst Golden Shifter,” Vaughn, a Georgia native, has been a fixture at all forms of motorsports events, including IndyCar, NASCAR and NHRA for more than 50 years.

The award honors the memory of Chapman, who died in 1996 at the age of 80 and has long been acknowledged as one of the most innovative pioneers in sports PR.

Chapman spent his career working with the likes of Babe Ruth, as well as motorsports legends Mario Andretti, Bill France Sr., Dan Gurney and Bobby Unser, among others.

Sheryl Kammer, Chapman’s daughter, said in a statement: “I know Dad liked and respected Linda. She would also have to be much more than pretty to win Dad’s approval. This first honorary Jim Chapman Award is a terrific idea.”

Michael Knight, a longtime fixture in motorsports in both writing and PR, as well as chairman of the selection committee and one of Chapman’s closest friends, made the presentation.

“Linda went from being Miss Atlanta Speedway and Miss Pure Firebird to learn and become an accomplished public relations representative and marketer for Hurst,” Knight said. “She became a friend and confidant to drivers and their families.

“She helped the media and introduced many journalists, including me, to drivers, owners and executives. She probably has been in more victory lanes than anyone on Earth. And she remains one of racing’s greatest international ambassadors, making fans for the sport everywhere she’s traveled.”

JIM CHAPMAN AWARD HONOREES:

1991 – Michael Knight

1992 – Tom Blattler

1993-94 – Deke Houlgate and Hank Ives

1995 – Kathi Lauterbach

1996 – Marc Spiegel

1997 – Mike Zizzo

1998 – Tamy Valkosky

1999 — Carol Wilkins

2000-2003 – (Award not presented)

2004 – Doug Stokes

2005 – Susan Arnold

2006 – Kevin Kennedy

2007 – Dave Densmore and Bob Carlson

2008 – Judy Stropus

2009 –  (Award not presented)

2010 — Jim Hunter

2011 — Bill York

2012 — Judy Kouba Dominick and Nancy Wager

2013 — Anne Fornoro

2014 — Jon Edwards and Elon Werner

2015 – Linda Vaughn

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