"The award was something we thought ASA was missing and Butch (Miller) is an awesome first recipient," said Bob Dillner, Motorsports Broadcaster for SPEED Channel as well as Editor of 51SportsRacing.com. "He has been a driver I've secretly been a fan of for years; but more than being just a great racecar driver, Butch is a good person. He's pretty darn funny too and after all, this business is all about entertainment and he's one of the guys that truly understands that. That's what we try to do with 51SportsRacing.com, entertain fans of ASA and short track racing."
For the first month of the voting, ten drivers were bottle-necked at the top of the charts, but with less than a month to go, Butch Miller and David Stremme fans logged on and helped determine
Every sport has athletes that are extremely popular among its fans, but racing fans are among the most passionate in the sporting world. Well, the American Speed Association has long been known as one of the most fan-friendly racing series in the nation, but not until this year have fans been able to choose and recognize their favorite driver publicly. After several months of balloting on the popular short track website 51SportsRacing.com, it was announced on Saturday night at the ASA National Awards Banquet that three-time series champion Butch Miller was named the surprise winner of the first 51SportsRacing.com ASA Most Popular Driver Award.
We say surprise because that's exactly what short track veteran Butch Miller was; in fact, the award was something he quietly coveted as soon as it was announced.
"I think this is really neat. It's really hard to even describe because it just gives me this great feeling inside," said Miller. "It makes all my years of racing worth while. I told me wife Donna that I've won races and championships and I won this type of award in the Truck Series back in '95, but to win it in ASA is what makes it extra special."
The honor netted Miller a $500 cash prize and a crystal-etched trophy from 51SportsRacing.com as well as a website design from 51 Sports (a sports services company). Total value of the winning prize package is around $5,000.
Miller beat out 2002 ASA Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year David Stremme by less than 50 votes for the title. The two drivers amassed 27 percent of the total votes placed during the two-month long balloting period. Twenty drivers were eligible for the award on the ballet. Thousands of Short Track racing fans logged onto 51SportsRacing.com to vote for their favorite driver in the competition.
B U T C H
the final results. A final, late season charge by two-time champion Gary St. Amant and a stellar run by the 2002 ASA National Champion Joey Clanton vaulted the two of them into the top-five vote getters as well. Rookie Pat Kelly was also among the top-five vote getters.
"This thing is pretty important to me and that's because I can't believe I beat all the other drivers," said Miller. "I will never forget it although I am sorry I wasn't there to accept it. I heard David Stremme came on stage at the banquet wearing one of my t-shirts and said he voted for me and then you said he finished second. I hate to say this, but I didn't vote for him. I think he lied. He's such a good guy though."
"We are really excited to make this an annual award that everyone wants to win," said 51SportsRacing.com's Jeremy Troiano. "It has to be a pretty big honor to know that the fans voted you #1. And I personally don't think that they could have picked a better first candidate than Butch Miller. I mean, you just watch him interact with the fans, and he always has a smile on his face and something witty to say. He is a riot!"
Stremme & Dillner joke at the banquet.
One year ago, Bob Dillner, with his brother Matthew, created 51SportsRacing.com, a short track racing website that brings fans to the edge of the Short Track Racing world. The site focuses on ASA, NASCAR's Re/Max Challenge & All Pro Series, World of Outlaws, Hooters Pro Cup Series, NASCAR Featherlite Modified and Busch North Series, NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, Sunoco Super Series and much more! "51" concentrates more on original content rather than release information, making it an instant classic among the racing world. Behind the scenes views, news and "on the edge" commentary, including plenty of photography from some of the best in the business, is what you'll see on 51SportsRacing.com. That, plus exclusive driver journals from drivers such as Johnny Sauter, Joey Clanton, Mike Cope and Robbie Pyle. So check it out and come along for the ride!