Recently, the results were announced for the 2012 edition of INDYCAR’s Favorite Driver Fan Survey. Again, many of the categories were extremely close throughout the ranks of INDYCAR’s ladders, with only a few percentage points separating the winners from their nearest competitors.
In USF2000, Pabst Racing Services’ Shannon McIntosh won Most Popular Driver, after narrowly missing the same honor in 2011. The second-year Mazda Road to Indy driver offered her thoughts on the award.
“I am so humbled to be the 'favorite driver' from the USF2000 series this year,” enthused McIntosh. “INDYCAR fans are extremely dedicated and I feel so lucky to have such an honor. Racing fans are the best in the sports world and it is very motivating to me that I have their support. "
McIntosh went on to mention her philosophy in regards to fan interaction.
“It has always been very important to me to interact and have a relationship with my fans. It is crucial in my mind that race fans know drivers care because without their support, I can't race!”
While McIntosh might have claimed the USF2000 prize, Andretti Autosport’s stable of drivers would have much to say about the rest of the proceedings. The Star Mazda Series saw Andretti driver Zach Veach take home the fan favorite title, after winning the previous year’s USF2000 honor. Veach, fresh off announcing his promotion to Firestone Indy Lights in 2013, kept riding his string of good news.
“Being named most popular driver for a second year in a row is just incredible,” affirmed Veach. “I turn 18 pretty soon and I feel as though this is just the best birthday present. I’m so lucky to have such a supportive fan base and I’m so thankful for all of the votes.”
The Andretti Autosport tidal wave continued in Firestone Indy Lights, where Sebastian Saavedra won a tight contest over Lights champion Tristan Vautier and USAC champ/Indy 500 entrant/Indy Lights driver Bryan Clauson. When reached for comment, Saavedra was quick to thank the fans.
“It is great feeling the support we get from fans during the off season,” Saavedra stated. “They've been amazing all year around and this gives me a great boost of motivation to keep giving them amazing moments to remember. I want to thank everyone that voted and for keeping in touch with everything that's going on around the IndyCar world. Big things are coming and I'm sure you are all going to love it. Thank you again!”
In the IZOD IndyCar Series, the charismatic Canadian star James Hinchcliffe managed to secure the hat trick for Andretti, squeaking by perennially popular driver Simona de Silvestro to grab the title of the Most Popular IICS driver. “The Mayor” was his normal genial self in his statement.
“First, I get elected Mayor, then I got on the Go Daddy homepage and now I'm the fan's favorite,” Hinch recounted. “It's been a great year and I can't wait to get back on the track in 2013 and keep it up. But the fans are what it's really all about. I was a fan once, and still am, so to be picked by them is really special.”
Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Favorite Driver Award here at INDYCAR Nation. We wish them the best in 2013, and apparently the fans do, too!
Zachary Houghton runs indycaradvocate.com, which features regularly-updated INDYCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, and Mazda Road to Indy interviews, commentary, and more. You can find him on Twitter at @indycaradvocate.