Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet

Chevrolet celebrates its driver, manufacturer champions at annual event

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STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – When you manage to clean up across multiple spectrums, series and divisions of motorsports, you owe yourself a celebration.

Such was the case Wednesday at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, where Chevrolet and Cadillac’s respective driver and manufacturer championships for 2015 were celebrated and honored.

Drivers and champions recognized included:

  • Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Verizon IndyCar Series driver’s champion
  • Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, 99th Indianapolis 500 champion
  • Chris Berube, Chevrolet racing program manager, IndyCar, IndyCar manufacturer’s championship
  • Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype driver’s champions (Chevrolet won Prototype manufacturer’s championship)
  • Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis, No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS driver’s champions (Chevrolet won GS manufacturer’s championship)
  • Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, No. 3 Corvette C7.R, winners at Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve hours of Sebring
  • Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor, No. 64 Corvette C7.R, winners at 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Johnny O’Connell, No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R, Pirelli World Challenge GT driver’s champion
  • Michael Cooper, No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, Pirelli World Challenge GTS driver’s champion
  • Erica Enders-Stevens, Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, NHRA Pro Stock driver’s champion
  • Donny Schatz, No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance, World of Outlaws champion
  • Several drivers, NHRA manufacturer’s champion
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series manufacturer’s championships

In addtion, Chevrolet also took time to recognize a couple others who have made an impact on the company’s history.

Andy Pilgrim, who spent 16 years with the company from 1999 through 2015, was awarded a special honor for his contributions across both Corvette Racing (1999 to 2003) and Cadillac Racing (2004 to 2007, 2011 to 2015).

Pilgrim referenced his five months in the buildup to driving with Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 3 Corvette at the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona (Kelly Collins was fourth driver), and Earnhardt hailed Pilgrim’s sports car skills.

“Y’all know who this is?” Earnhardt said of Pilgrim, as Pilgrim told the crowd on Wednesday. “He was my PR agent!”

Pilgrim will not continue with Cadillac Racing in the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season, but is still seeking to continue within the championship.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the spectrum, NHRA legend John Force was recognized as he and his John Force Racing team have returned to Chevrolet this season. Force, daughter Brittany Force and Robert Hight were all in attendance.

In typically awesome John Force candor, John Force said, “We’re going through a lot of change, but we’re home. I’m home. About the only GM brand I haven’t won a title with is in a Cadillac. My first trophy was won here in a Buick. We love the engineers, everyone working with us. Mr. Jim Campbell puts up with me. I love what I do.

“What was the question again?”

Here’s a roundup of images on social media from Team Chevy from the day.

Drivers, team members and teams chimed in too. Here’s some of the highlights:

Good to see these guys. #lemans24hours champions. #ChevyChampions @jordan10taylor @tommymilner

A photo posted by @olivergavin on

The most beautiful car in the room. 1953 #Chevrolet #Corvette

A photo posted by @olivergavin on

This one we title the @cadillac ats-Vr and the kid @jordan10taylor …. Kids. Sheesh

A photo posted by Johnny OConnell (@johnny_oconnell3) on

Conor Daly honors friend killed Saturday amid Indianapolis unrest

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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IndyCar driver Conor Daly posted a poignant tribute to Chris Beaty, a former Indiana University football player and Indianapolis business owner who was killed Saturday amid protests and rioting in the city.

Daly said he got to know Beaty, who owned an event and marketing promotions company, five years ago when he was organizing Indianapolis 500 afterparties.

Daly annually had been involved in Beaty’s parties since then and said Beaty helped get him home earlier this year when Daly’s blood sugar crashed while at an event.

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“The world lost a tremendous person. RIP Chris Beaty,” wrote Daly, who also tweeted “The violence has to stop.”

According to the Indianapolis Star, Beaty died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds during Saturday night’s unrest in downtown Indianapolis. It’s unclear if the shooting was tied to the protests.

Graham Rahal also posted about his interaction with Beaty.

Daly, Rahal and the rest of the IndyCar Series will return to action Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBC).