Johnson Garners Fourth Quarter Top Driver Recognition

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SARASOTA, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson, by virtue of earning his fourth-straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, has been voted the fourth quarter Driver of the Year by a panel of broadcasters and journalists.

Johnson, the overall Driver of the Year in 2006 and 2007, took 12 out of 16 first-place votes and was the only driver appearing on all the ballots, earning 130 points.

NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch was second on the ballot with 53 points and one first-place vote, followed by NHRA Funny Car champion Robert Hight with 49 points and two first-place votes.

“If there was a NASCAR version of Mr. October, like Reggie Jackson was in Major League Baseball, Jimmie’s the one,” said Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation. “Especially since NASCAR instituted The Chase, I can’t think of any one driver, any one team, that seems to hit all the marks in the 10 race playoffs. The vote is no surprise.”

Dario Franchitti, who captured his second IZOD IndyCar Series title in three years this season, finished fourth in the voting with 41 points.

NHRA Top Fuel ace Tony Schumacher, last year’s Driver of the Year, was fifth. A total of 14 drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting.