INDYCAR Nation, INDYCAR's official fan club, has spoken and James Hinchcliffe, Sebastian Saavedra and Zach Veach have all been voted 'Favorite Driver of the Year.' It was nearly a 'clean sweep' for Andretti Autosport, with Shelby Blackstock coming in second in the USF2000 category.
James Hinchcliffe is taking home the 'Favorite Driver' award in the IZOD IndyCar Series category for the first year. The Toronto native just completed his first full season with Andretti Autosport, after earning IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year in 2011. He finished the 2012 season eighth in the championship points standings with eight top-ten finishes in the No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. It became clear early in the season that "The Mayor of Hinchtown" would be a fan favorite when the grassroots "Hinch for Homepage" campaign hit social media and landed Hinchcliffe on the homepage of GoDaddy.com.
"It's really an honor to be selected by the fans as their favorite driver," said Hinchcliffe. "First, I get elected Mayor, then I got on the Go Daddy homepage and now I'm the fan's favorite. 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."
Bogota, Colombia native, Sebastian Saavedra, was voted the favorite driver in the Firestone Indy Lights category. He recorded 10 top-10 finishes last season, which included six podiums and a win at Barber Motorsports Park. This is the first year the 22-year-old has won the award and he is grateful for all of INDYCAR's fans.
"It is great feeling the support we get from fans during the off season," said Saavedra. "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!"
Zach Veach won 'Favorite Driver of the Year' for the Star Mazda Series. This is his second year earning the title, after winning in the USF2000 category last season. In 2012, Veach had 11 top-10 finishes, two of which were top-five's at Lucas Oil Raceway and on the streets of Toronto.
"Being named most popular driver for a second year in a row is just incredible," said 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. It's also really cool to share this honor with two of my Andretti Autosport teammates, Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) and Sebastian (Saavedra). I'm sure Hinch will come up with something for us to do together to celebrate-maybe even a GoDaddy.com commercial."
Each driver will be recognized at the INDYCAR Celebration in Indianapolis on Dec. 6. Thank you to all of the amazing fans that voted and for your continued support of Andretti Autosport!