Industry News
IHRA President Aaron Polburn Receives 2012 Mike Aiello Award
December 17, 2012
The Mike Aiello Award, referred to by the media as "The Spirit of Drag Racing Award," honors determination and the spirit to persevere and remain positive in spite of obstacles.
IHRA President Aaron Polburn Receives 2012 Mike Aiello Award

Competition Plus Magazine has presented International Hot Rod Association President Aaron Polburn with the 2012 Mike Aiello Award and trophy.
 
Polburn, who in 2010 was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has approached what he called his "next great adventure" with grace and his trademark sense of humor.

Brian Wood, editorial director of the IHRA's Drag Review Magazine and a close friend of Aiello, made the presentation to Polburn last week at the IHRA headquarters at Norwalk, Ohio.

The Mike Aiello Award, referred to by the media as "The Spirit of Drag Racing Award," honors determination and the spirit to persevere and remain positive in spite of obstacles.
 
It remembers Aiello, a longtime drag racing fan and former Pro Stock crew member for former IHRA and NHRA racer Jerry Yeoman, who spent his final years confined to a wheelchair after a workplace injury. Despite physical hardship and severe mobility limitations, he not only attended many drag races, but made dozens of friends among drivers, crew members, and media with his positive outlook and unselfish behavior.
 
Aiello, an acquaintance of Polburn, passed away December 29, 2006, at age 39 at Santa Monica, California.

Polburn is the first sanctioning-body President and second from the IHRA ranks to receive the award. Past recipients include John Medlen, Tim Wilkerson, Mike Edwards, and Jack Beckman.
 
"I'm overwhelmed. I'm humbled. I'm speechless," Polburn said after the surprise presentation. He said he was honored to be the latest in the group of quality individuals to have received the award, saying he "nearly choked up" during the presentation.

"I am the most blessed guy on earth. I look at this as my next great adventure and I truly mean that," Polburn wrote. "I will do whatever it takes to put the odds in my favor. . . . I will do it with great attitude and humor. This is not a death sentence. This is a lifestyle change although I am convinced it is not going to change that much."