The American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association has announced its annual All America Team, which the group has done every year since the conclusion of the 1970 season.
A unique team of special drivers representing multiple forms of professional motorsports is elected each year by AARWBA. The association's members vote on drivers within their participating categories of racing and the top two from each discipline are elected to the first team.
The 2012 All-America team:
In the Open Wheel Division, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power were the leading choices. Driving for Andretti Autosport, Hunter-Reay claimed his first IZOD Indy Car Series Champion this year, and Verizon Team Penske's Will Power sat on five pole positions and won three races in the series on his way to second place in 2012 points for the third consecutive season.
Two-person teams were the selections for Road Racing: Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, who drove their Telmex BMW-Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and Klaus Graf/Lucas Luhr who drove for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. Pruett and Rojas are the 2012 Grand-Am Champs, giving owner Chip Ganassi his third straight and sixth overall Prototype title since 2004. Graf and Luhr were the ALMS 2012 LMP1 driver champions scoring six wins this season.
A USAC Sprint Car Championship and seven feature victories earned Bryan Clauson a slot on the All America Team's Short Track division. Clauson also started the Indianapolis 500 as the 2011 USAC National Champion. Donny Schatz is the other Short Track Division representative on the strength of his fifth World of Outlaws Sprint Car title. In 2012 Schatz claimed 11 A-Main victories, 39 top-five, and 60 top-ten finishes.
Brad Keselowski led the All American First Team voting in the Stock Car category as well as all divisions across the ballot. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion earned the most votes of any driver during the voting process. Jimmie Johnson fills out the other position with a third-place Sprint Cup standings finish, five points-paying wins, and the All Star Race win.
Antron Brown and Jack Beckman are the Drag Racing Category representatives. Brown piloted Don Schumacher Racing's Matco Tools Dragster to six wins in 11 Final Round appearances and earned his first NHRA Top Fuel crown. Beckman made it a sweep for DSR as he won the NHRA Funny Car title with three Final Round triumphs.
In the Touring Series, James Buescher is recognized for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship. Driving for Turner Motorsports, Buescher visited Victory Lane four times in the series following his dramatic last-lap win in the Daytona NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
The driving duo of Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal won the 2012 Rolex Grand Am Series /GT Class in the AIM Autosport Team FXDD with Ferrari. They claimed wins in Miami, New Jersey, and Road America.
Johnny O'Connell and Tristan Vautier were the At Large category's top vote earners. O'Connell chauffeured Cadillac Racing's machine to a win in St. Petersburg and two wins in Detroit on his way to the Pirelli World Challenge GT Championship. Sam Schmidt Motorsports enjoyed the 2012 Indy Lights crown with Vautier leading them to four wins, five poles, and leading over half of the laps contested during the entire series.
NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force was voted the Rising Star award after finishing fifth in the Championship Countdown. She also won the NHRA's Road to the Future Award with four final-round appearances, two number-one qualifying awards, and a win in the Northwest Nationals.
One other tradition that AARWBA has followed is to elect a Second Team to be honored along with the above All-America winners. Here are the categories and names of that illustrious group of drivers:
Open Wheel: Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon/Helio Castroneves (tie)
Road Racing: Chris Dyson/Guy Smith (team) and Ryan Dalziel
Short Track: Bobby East and Darrell Lanigan
Stock Car: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Clint Bowyer
Drag Racing: Tony Schumacher and Ron Capps
Touring Series: Ricky Johnson and Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner (team)
At Large: Frank Manzo and Jimmy Owens
The country's top forms of professional motorsports are represented in this championship group voted on by AARWBA members as the 2012 All America Team. For more information, visit www.aarwba.org.