Photo courtesy of Kyle Petty Charity Ride

Kyle Petty Charity Ride receives National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award

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The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has been named the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award recipient for the second quarter of 2017.

The Charity Ride celebrated its 23rd anniversary this year, raising $1.3 million for the Victory Junction Gang Camp (the highest total since 2008), as motorcyclists rode from Portland, Oregon to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Charity Ride was one of three nominees for the second-quarter award voted upon by NMPA members. The other two nominees were Speedway Children’s Charities and NASCAR Cup driver Kevin Harvick.

According to the NMPA, the Spirit Award “recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.”

Renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass was the first quarter recipient of the Spirit Award.

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NMPA names Jimmie Johnson Driver of the Year among annual awards

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Jimmie Johnson was named the Richard Petty Driver of the Year on Saturday by the National Motorsports Press Association as part of its annual awards banquet.

It’s the seventh time that Johnson – who was named on 62 percent of the ballots cast – has been recognized with the award. He previously won it in 2004, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’10, and ’13.

The award comes after Johnson became the third driver to win a seventh championship in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

The NMPA also named Al Pearce of Autoweek as its annual Pocono Spirit Award winner.

The award, sponsored by Pocono Raceway, “recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity,
sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.”

Pearce won for a four-year project that raised $13,000 through the auction of a racing helmet signed by the 20 living World Driving Champions and Phil Hill and Sir Jack Brabham prior their passing. Proceeds from the project went to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation.

Dave Ferroni, the public relations representative for Furniture Row Racing,  was awarded the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award.

Involved in auto racing for more than 30 years, Ferroni was the publicist for the “Miracle on Ice” U.S. hockey team in 1980 before later serving working for Brainerd International Raceway and the National Hot Rod Association. His company, DMF Communications, has also worked with U.S. Army, Miller Brewing Co., Pennzoil, McDonald’s and Valvoline.

The Ken Patterson award is sponsored by Talladega Superspeedway, where Patterson served as the public relations director, and has been given out since 2004. The track will donate $1,000 in Ferroni’s name to the Kenneth Patterson Educational Trust Fund.

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Mike and Angie Skinner selected as fourth quarter Spirit Award winners

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
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The National Motorsports Press Association has announced Mike Skinner and his wife, Angie, as the winners of the fourth quarter Pocono Spirit Award.

The Spirit Award “recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.”

The former Camping World Truck Series champion was chosen for his annual benefit, the Skinner Roundup.

The event raises funds to support Hope For The Warriors, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for service members, veterans and military families. This years’ event raised $220,000.

Also on the ballot for the fourth quarter were NASCAR drivers Joey Gase, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson and former drivers Darrell and Michael Waltrip.

The previous quarter winners of the award this year were NASCAR spotter Chris Osborne, artist Jeanne Barnes and journalist Al Pearce.

The overall Spirit Award for 2016 will be announced in January.

Matt Kenseth’s spotter honored by National Motorsports Press Association

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Chris Osborne, spotter for Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez, has been named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award for the first quarter.

The award is given quarterly and recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, as well as sportsmanship and contribution to motorsports.

Osborne and his family were injured in a Dec. 17 automobile accident when the vehicle Osborne was driving was struck head-on. Police cited the driver of the other car with driving while impaired, along with careless and reckless driving and having an open container in his vehicle.

Osborne suffered a compound fracture of his right leg that required nearly 25 screws. His wife broke nine ribs and also broke her right hip, shoulder and elbow. Osborne’s son suffered a partially collapsed lung, cracked sternum, concussion and broken nose.

Osborne missed the first five races, making his return at Martinsville Speedway.

Osborne received about 80 percent of the votes cast by NMPA members. NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson also received votes.


Pocono Raceway to sponsor National Motorsports Press Association award


Pocono Raceway officials announced Friday that the track will once again sponsor the annual National Motorsports Press Association’s Spirit Award.

“This is a great way for us to recognize and honor those who go above and beyond,” Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky said in a media release. “My grandfather, ‘Doc’ Mattioli, used to be a part of these awards and we are excited to reengage.

“What I love about these awards is that they focus heavily on strong character and people who really support racing.”

The NMPA Pocono Spirit Awards are presented quarterly to “recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports,” according to the NMPA bylaws.

An overall annual winner is then announced at the NMPA’s annual awards banquet, which takes place this weekend in Concord, N.C.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to have Pocono Raceway return as sponsor of this award,” said NMPA President Brian Nelson.  “Pocono and the Mattioli family have shown that they are true citizens of our sport, and that they desire to recognize off-track contributions made by people within our racing community.”

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