By AMANDA VINCENT
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet isn’t until Friday night at Wynn Las Vegas, but the series began handing out awards on Thursday during the Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, also at The Wynn.
The late Betty Jane France was the recipient of the biggest award at the luncheon, the Myers Brothers Award. France, who passed away in August, was honored for her decades of charitable work that included the NASCAR Foundation and Speediatrics children’s units in hospitals in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Homestead, Fla.
France also is the namesake of another award handed out at the Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon — the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. Andy Hoffman, whose Team Jack Foundation raises money for pediatric brain cancer research, was the 2016 recipient of the award. As a result, Team Jack Foundation will receive a $100,000 donation.
Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush received the Buddy Shuman Award in recognition of his work in growing NASCAR.
“Normally, I don’t like surprises, but for this, I will make an exception,” Roush said.
Chase Elliott, heir apparent to the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet from Jeff Gordon, was announced as the 2016 Rookie of the Year after last month’s season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He was officially recognized for the honor during Thursday’s luncheon.
His HMS teammate and seven-time champion, Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, was presented by Goodyear with his seventh gold-plated 1/12 scale model of his No. 48 car. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company presents the gold car yearly to that year’s NASCAR premier series champion.
“I’m definitely living the dream,” Johnson said. “I may have dreamed big, but I’ve definitely overshot those expectations.”
Johnson may have been the Sprint Cup champion for the seventh time, but Mobil 1 presented its Driver of the Year Award to 2015 champion Kyle Busch. Busch was the winner of multiple awards, including the Duralast Brakes “Brake in the Race” Award and the Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award.
“How do you get the fastest lap and the biggest brake award? Guess I’m just a talented driver,” Busch said.
Below, is the complete list of award-winners from Thursday’s Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon:
NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Betty Jane France
Buddy Shuman Award: Jack Roush
NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Comcast/Xfinity
Chevrolet Cross Flags Award: Tony Stewart
American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
Coors Light Pole Award: Carl Edwards
Duralast Brakes “Brake in the Race” Award: Kyle Busch
Goodyear NASCAR Series Champion Award: Jimmie Johnson
Ingersoll Rand Power Move Award: Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 crew chief Dave Rogers
MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Hendrick Engines No. 4 team member Scott Vester
Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team
Mobile 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kyle Busch
MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson
Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Kyle Busch
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Chase Elliott
Champion Sponsor Award: Lowe’s
Champion Crew Chief Award: Chad Knaus
Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award: Andy Hoffman
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)