Jul 18, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT
Ryan Hunter-Reay’s 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship has netted him one last award later in 2013 – an ESPY award for Best Driver.
The Andretti Autosport driver’s comeback in the final two races of 2012 took him past Will Power to capture his first series title. He also took home RACER Magazine’s Racer of the Year and Road Racer of the Year awards earlier this year.
Furthermore, he’s the first open-wheel driver to win the Best Driver ESPY since Jimmy Vasser in 1997. Vasser took home the CART series title for Target Chip Ganassi Racing – that team’s first ever championship – in 1996.
Hunter-Reay beat out 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and defending three-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel in a fan vote.
Danica Patrick, who’s unlikely to be nominated for the Best Driver ESPY anytime soon, was also on hand at the event at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles to present the Best Male Athlete award, won by LeBron James.
Jon Hamm hosted the show and Robin Roberts (Arthur Ashe Courage Award) and the father-and-son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt, veteran marathon runners from Boston, were also honored for their contributions that have transcended sports.
The ESPYs also recognized Dick Trickle, Jason Leffler and Chris Economaki in its “In Memoriam” tribute to those who have passed in the last year.
- Vettel suspects Mercedes of sandbagging during practice 1
- Mattiacci determined to turn around Ferrari’s failing season 4
- Hamilton recovers in FP2 to edge out Alonso and Rosberg 0
- Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP 1
- Flashback to when a 67-second pit stop at the Indy 500 was fast vs. a modern-day F1 stop (video) 4
More from NASCAR America
- IndyCar: Massive crash triggered after round of pit stops (VIDEO) (17)
- American-based F1 franchise, Haas Formula, officially introduced (9)
- Andretti drivers say GP of Long Beach should stay with IndyCar (7)
- Kurt Busch won’t soon forget Clint Bowyer’s race-ruining shove at Darlington (VIDEO) (6)
- Former FIA prez Max Mosley rubbishes F1′s ongoing noise saga (6)