Dirt Sports Magazine Names Andy McMillin 2009 DRIVER OF THE YEAR
Carl Renezeder, Brad Lovell, and Jeff Ward also honored in Newly Restructured Annual Award
02.05.10 February 4, 2009 (Long Beach, Calif.) On the eve of trying to repeat his overall victory at the Best-in-the Desert (BITD) Parker 425 desert race, defending event champion Andy McMillin capped off his monumental 2009 season by being honored by Dirt Sports Magazine and Ryan Communications Group (RCG) as Dirt Sports 2009 Driver of the Year. The third generation driver took top honors in this years selection, but was also joined by fellow racers Carl Renezeder as 2009 Short Course Racer of the Year, Brad Lovell as 2009 Rock Racer of the Year, and Jeff Ward, who took the magazines 2009 Rookie of the Year title.
Last season, McMillin, co-driver and father Scott McMillin, and his entire San Diego, California-based McMillin Racing team not only captured the BITD Class 1400 championship for unlimited trucks, but also posted overall winning performances at some of the sports biggest races including the 2009 BITD Parker 425, the SNORE Mint 400, the BITD Las Vegas to Reno, the SCORE Baja 1000 and the season finale BITD Henderson Desert Classic. The teams campaign was supported by McMillin Homes, Ford, BFGoodrich, Fox Shox, Eibach, KMC Wheels, K&N, Vision-X and VP Fuel.
In tonights award ceremony, McMillins dramatic cover shoot by artist Tim Mantoani was unveiled on the newly-printed February, 2010 issue. As part of his award, the happy winner was also awarded a custom-made presentation box by Oakley featuring a specially engraved watch and high performance sunglasses; along with a one-of-a-kind Oakley Driver of the Year jacket.
Most years, choosing our Driver of the Year is a difficult one because of the incredible competition across our magazines core coverage of desert, short course and rock racing explained Marty Fiolka, group editorial and marketing director, Ryan Communications Group. But in consideration of Andy McMillins watershed season in 2009, this year our top honoree was a clear one; especially after Andy, and his father Scott, won the prestigious Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and then the BITD Class 1400 Championship.
In choosing each of their past winners, the panel of judges made their final determinations based upon drivers posting a championship performance, their ability to represent both the sport and their sponsors in a professional manner, and their ability to rise above the competition in a significant manner.
The 22-year old McMillin adds his name to an illustrious group of past honorees that represent some of the sports best, including the late Jason Baldwin (2004), Shannon Campbell (2005), Carl Renezeder (2006), and Rob MacCachren (2007). Last year, Heidi Steele made history by becoming the first female to ever win two major championships in the same season and also the first women ever to earn the prestigious Driver of the Year title.
Ever since I was young I wanted to be recognized as one of the best in this sport and I have worked really hard to achieve it, explained McMillin. On behalf of my father, my family and the entire McMillin team, I want to thank everyone involved for making a dream really come true.
For the first time in the awards history, the magazine named awards the other forms of off-road motorsports not represented by the overall winner. Known as the Dirt Sports Honors, those chose in these categories will also receive special Oakley watches and jackets. Last seasons list include Renezeder, who claimed two championships in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series (LOORRS), Colorados Brad Lovell, a rock racing veteran that also took dual titles in the W.E.Rock and XXRA series and the multi-talented Jeff Ward, who enjoyed a spectacular first season in LOORRS Unlimited 2 competition.