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Racing media group names Brittany Force, Martin Truex Jr., Drivers of the Year, plus All-America team

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NHRA 2017 Top Fuel champion Brittany Force and NASCAR Cup 2017 champ Martin Truex Jr. have been named co-winners of the Jerry Titus Memorial Award Driver of the Year honors by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Force and Truex tied for the most votes in balloting among AARWBA members.

The pair also were named to the organization’s 2017 All-America Team, which includes IndyCar champ Josef Newgarden, IMSA’s Ricky and Jordan Taylor, Sprint Car’s Donny Schatz, Kyle Kaiser (Indy Lights) and Christopher Bell (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series).

Force became the NHRA’s first female Top Fuel champion in 35 years since Shirley Muldowney captured her third and final title in 1982.

Brittany Force won four races (in six final round appearances) in 2017, and twice qualified No. 1 en route to her first world championship. Her father, Funny Car driver John Force, is the winningest driver in NHRA history, with 16 championships and 148 race wins.

“It’s such an honor to be included on the All-America Team by the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association,” Force said in a media release. “This season has been incredible, taking home the 2017 championship title for our Monster Energy Team and then to finish off our year by earning the Titus Award is truly unbelievable.

“To be mentioned alongside so many influential names in the motorsports world is an accomplishment in itself and that is something I am very proud of. I have so much support around me and it’s because of my fans, my family and my team that the 2017 season was such a huge success. I am so appreciative of this huge recognition.”

Founded in 1955 AARWBA is a motorsports organization comprised of writers, broadcasters, photographers, and other media-related professionals.

The organization’s charter is aimed at providing not only proper recognition for members of the motorsports media, but to recognize their work as well as the work of the competitors that they follow in print, on the air, and on film.

Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

Michelin
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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”