Carl Edwards, who narrowly missed winning two NASCAR championships in the same year, was voted 4th quarter DRIVER OF THE YEAR 2008.
In the voting period Edwards won three NASCAR Sprint Cup races and had only two finishes worse than top four. Additionally he won three Nationwide races in the final quarter. You could say he threw everything he had at those championships, and in one race, at Kansas City, he literally threw his Roush Racing Ford in the wall in an effort to get past Jimmie Johnson the eventual race winner and Cup Champion.
The 29-year-old was gracious in accepting the award as he was acknowledging the stiff competition he faced in his quest to be the first NASCAR driver to win both the Sprint Cup and the Nationwide series.
"It is a great honor to get selected for the DRIVER OF THE YEAR for the fourth quarter," stated Edwards. "With all the competition and great performances out there I think that this says a lot about our teams and how well we performed in both series. It's an honor and I really appreciate it." He was also the fourth quarter winner in 2005
Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said “Carl made the final run to both championships exciting. He's the perfect example of an athlete who never gave up and I think the panel recognized that.”
In the voting Edwards took ten first-place ballots and received votes from the entire panel. With 128 points he beat Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and the 2006 & 2007 DRIVER OF THE YEAR, received seven first-place votes and totaled 74 points.
Tony Schumacher, NHRA's Top Fuel Champion and winner of the 3rd quarter DRIVER OF THE YEAR 2008, received one first-place vote and totaled 79 points.
Cruz Pedregon, the NHRA's Funny Car Champion this year, was fourth in the voting with one first place vote.
A total of 14 eligible drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting.
Edwards added his “thanks to the both crews of the #99 Sprint Cup team and #60 Nationwide team” for their unending efforts to try to earn two titles.
In its’ 42nd year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique. A panel of 18 leading broadcasters and journalists from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Edwards will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date.
President of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.