Schumacher edges NASCAR greats for Driver of Year

Updated: December 11, 2008, 5:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Picking up 15 wins this season and his fifth straight NHRA POWERade Series world championship has earned Tony Schumacher the Driver of the Year Award.

He becomes just the third NHRA driver to claim the prize, presented by the Driver of the Year Foundation, based in Sarasota, Fla.

Past winners include Mario Andretti, who was the first winner in 1967, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Darrell Waltrip.

"What an honor it is to be singled out as the Driver of the Year for 2008," Schumacher said. "I'm happy that the NHRA is front and center again with this award. It's been a few years since Greg Anderson won it. Of course, John Force also won it in 1996. You can't forget the living legend himself."

Balloting, by a panel of 18 leading journalists, was especially competitive this year. Schumacher earned six votes, while NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards each received five. Other NASCAR drivers, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart, received one vote each.