The Associated Press has handed out its Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards, and they’ve respectively gone to two worthy winners: The San Francisco Giants’ World Series hero Madison Bumgarner and Little League World Series phenom Mo’ne Davis.
But NASCAR didn’t get a lot of love in the voting for either one of the honors.
Danica Patrick improved in her second season of Sprint Cup competition but that was only enough to get her one vote for the AP’s Female award.
Still, it was better than what her Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and new Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick got for the AP’s Male award: Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Now, we shouldn’t lament too much for Harvick, who captured the prestigious Driver of the Year award for his 2014 efforts.
But considering that Jimmie Johnson finished third for the AP Male award in 2013 after winning his sixth career Cup title, it’s a bit jarring to not see Harvick anywhere on this year’s vote count.
It ran as follows: Bumgarner, 38; Clayton Kershaw, 13; Derek Jeter and Rory McIlroy, seven votes each; Peyton Manning, five; Tim Howard and Lionel Messi, four votes each; Tim Duncan and Aaron Rodgers, three votes each; Novak Djokovic, Richard Sherman, and Tom Brady, two votes each; Thomas Mueller, Sidney Crosby, Marcus Mariota, and LeBron James, one vote each.
Harvick’s season wasn’t an altogether perfect one. But while he had multiple mishaps on his way to the Chase, many of those can be placed at the feet of his pit crew (which got swapped out for the crew of teammate/boss Tony Stewart before the Chase). There were a few mechanical failures sprinkled in as well.
But once the post-season rolled around, Harvick and the No. 4 team brought it all together with three victories in the last six races – including consecutive triumphs at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami that enabled Harvick to win it all.
His year might not have been enough to eclipse those of Bumgarner and the other top vote getters. OK, that’s fine.
But to have it not gain even a single vote is a surprise – and it’s not a very good one.