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Mission Statement: "To provide AARWBA members who have legitimate concerns (regarding issues such as credentials, access, and treatment by drivers, owners, officials, track and sanctioning organization personnel and other media sources), which affect their ability to perform their work assignments, an intermediary through which to address and attempt to resolve those concerns."

The Bob Russo Founder's Award
Bob Russo Award Plaque

For Immediate Release
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Indianapolis- Donald Davidson, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s full time Historian, whose dedication to the history of the storied racing facility, has earned him the respect and friendship of journalists from around the world, was honored Saturday with the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s (AARWBA) Bob Russo Founders Award.
The award was presented to Davidson by Committeeman and former recipient of the award, Bill York, during the Association’s Annual Indy Breakfast held at the Speedway.
York pointed out that the selection committee felt that Davidson fulfilled the stated requirements which paralleled Bob Russo’s interests in auto racing: “Presented annually by AARWBA to an individual who has demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts and undying dedication to auto racing, exemplified by our Founder, Bob Russo throughout his lifelong career” .
In 1964 Davidson, a young Englishman with a passion for the world famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway was drawn to travel to the facility for the “500”. His detailed memory of the history of all events including participants, past and present, drew the immediate interests of everyone connected with the running of the Indianapolis 500.
In 1965, he returned and assisted the late Sid Collins on the world wide IMS Broadcast Network on race day which he continues today. He also became a thirty-one year employee of the United States Auto Club (USAC) as a statistician and historian.
On January 1, 1998 he accepted the position with the IMS, which he still holds today. He co-authored, “Autocourse, Official History of the Indianapolis 500” and has contributed to numerous hardback books on auto racing. Among Davidson’s other efforts include articles in the Indianapolis 500 Yearbook, Autoweek and Motor Trend.
On May 27, 2010 Davidson was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at Indianapolis.
Former recipients of the Founders Award: Michael Knight, Wally Parks, Chris Economaki, Bob Jenkins, Shav Glick, Bill York, Bill Marvel, Paul Page, and Hulman-George and France Families.
For further information: Bill Marvel, Chairman, Bob Russo Founders Award at 859-749-0646

In 2005 the Bob Russo Founder's Award was inaugurated. In 2004 President Dusty Brandel assigned Bill Marvel, the founding Secretary, to chair a committee of Deke Houlgate, Dick Mittman and Norm Froscher, to establish the award. Make the rules covering the annual selection of the recipient and the awarding of the honor.

Also the committee was to choose a worthy recipient of the first award.

Nominees must meet the requirement that they: “Have demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts and undying dedication to auto racing, as exemplified by Founder Bob Russo, throughout his lifelong career.”

The following rules apply to the award.
* Only Professional Members of AARWBA, who have held membership for at least five years, may make a nomination.
* Nominees from the auto racing community must have been involved for at least five years.
*The award can be made posthumously.
* Each recipient will be added to the Awards Committee.
* No member of the committee may receive the award while serving on the committee.
* As the original committee members leave for one reason or another, the committee will select a chairman by vote.
* The majority will rule on the final award recipient selection by the committee. In cases of ties the AARWBA President will make the deciding vote.
* Nominations must be submitted in written form of 150 words, email or regular mail, to the Chairman of the Founder’s Award Committee.
* Nominations must contain the signature and year of initial membership of the one making the nomination.
Deadline is March 20th of each year.

The award is an individual plaque with a likeness of Bob Russo, and AARWBA logo and the following wording there on, Presented Annually by AARWBA to an individual who has demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts, and undying dedication to auto racing, as exemplified by our founder Bob Russo throughout his career.”

A permanent plaque, with the same information as the individual one, with individual nameplate spaces is displayed in the Media Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gary and Collene Campbell, to celebrate the lives of Mickey and Trudy Thompson, Collene’s brother and sister-in-law, sponsor the award.
Past winners are Mike Knight, 2005; Wally Parks, 2006; Chris Economaki, 2007; Bob Jenkins, 2008; Shav Glick, 2009; and Bill York, 2010; Bill Marvel, 2011; Paul Page, 2012; Mari Hulman George and family, 2013; and the France Family, 2013.

Nominations to Chairman Bill Marvel at: billmarvel@gmail.com or mail: 4866 KY 49, Liberty. KY 42539

The Bob Russo Founder's Award is presented annually by AARWBA to a member who has worked diligently to further the organization in its goals to represent the media who cover the sport of motor racing throughout the United States.

Russo was the initiator in organizing AARWBA. In 1955, he felt there was a definite need for such a group to help in its coverage of all forms of auto racing. Often at that time communication between the track promoters and the media was very limited.
He brought together the founding group at Indianapolis. Russo was a journalist and later public relations director for the National Hot Rod Association, Riverside International Raceway and Ontario Motor Speedway.

The winners to date:
2005Michael Knight 
2006Wally ParksMichael F. Hollander accepts for Wally Parks from Bill Marvel
2007Chris Economaki 
2008Bob Jenkins 
2009Shav Glick 
2010Bill York (left)Bill York  (1)   With Bill Marvel
2011Bill Marvel (Charter Member) (right)Bill Marvel (Charter Member) (2) with Mike Knight
2012Paul Page (left)Paul Page  ( 3) with Bill Marvel
2013Mari Hulman George(second from left)Mari Hulman George. with daughter Josie and Kathi accept the award from AARWBA Charter member and Russo Founders Award chairman Bill Marvel.
2014Bill York and Donald DavidsonDonald Davidson accepts award from Bill York.

The Bloys Britt Award
Bloys Britt - Dozier Mobley photo

The Bloys Britt Award began in 1977 to honor the memory of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's Southern Area Vice President Bloys Britt. Britt wrote for the Associated Press for 17 years, from the late '50's until his death in 1975.

Bloys was a master of digging the unusual story from his association with motorsports, to send to the Associated Press.

The winner's name is added to the perpetual trophy that is an old AP Teletype machine which has been displayed in the Houston Lawing Press Box at Daytona International Speedway.

Bloys Britt - Dozier Mobley photo

The winners to date: (some years no winner was picked by the judges)
Criteria: unusual story from the annual AARWBA contest

The "Straight Shooters" Award, in memory of photographers Art Flores and Ron Hussey
Created by a group of photographers led by AARWBA Photo Committee Chair, the late Art Flores, the "Straight Shooters" Award is designed to be given to an individual or group that has distinguished itself by its care for others in the racing community.

Through support of Fernandez Racing of the Indy Racing League, the award includes a plaque and a $500 prize, presented annually at the AARWBA Breakfast on the Saturday prior to the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Flores, who died in 2004, and Hussey, who died in 2000, were both long-time award-winning motorsports photographers. Fernandez Racing driver-owner Adrian Fernandez, and team co-owner Tom Anderson, suggested renaming the honor in recognition of Flores’ and Hussey’s contributions to racing.

The first "Straight Shooters" Award was presented to the CART Simple Green Safety Team on January 12, 2002 at the 2002 All America Banquet. The team received the award in recognition of their successful efforts to save the life of driver Alex Zanardi following his crash at the CART German 500.

The second "Straight Shooters" Award was presented to Al Speyer of Bridgestone/Firestone for his equanimity and service to the sports of Champ Car and Indy Car Racing.

The third "Straight Shooters" Award in memory of photographers Art Flores and Ron Hussey was presented on May 28, 2005 to photographer Dan R. Boyd.

The fourth "Straight Shooters" Award in memory of photographers Art Flores and Ron Hussey was presented on May 27, 2006 to IMS Chief photographer Ron McQueeney.

The fifth "Straight Shooters" Award in memory of photographers Art Flores and Ron Hussey was presented on May 26, 2007 to USAC Chief photographer John Mahoney.

The sixth "Straight Shooters" Award in memory of photographers Art Flores and Ron Hussey was presented on May 24, 2009 to Photographer Phil Rider.

James P. Chapman Award of Excellence in Motorsports Media Relations

Michael Knight and James P. ChapmanIt was said of James P. Chapman that he turned “a public relations assignment into an art form” and “invented most of what is now considered routine sponsor PR work.” So, it seems appropriate that Chapman was a confidant of another legend, Babe Ruth.

While Chapman enjoyed a long and innovative career, his greatest professional acclaim came from 1981-1992, as director of racing for CART series sponsor PPG Industries. At the time his Detroit-area firm contracted to represent PPG, the company’s annual contribution to the CART prize fund was $250,000. Under Jim’s leadership, it grew to more than $3.75 million at the time of his retirement in February 1993. Chapman died in October 1996 at age 80.

As an important element of its 50th Anniversary Celebration, and with the approval of the Chapman family, AARWBA is resuming the Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations. Originally established in 1991, and focused on PR achievement within the CART series, the award has been on hiatus in recent years. AARWBA, of which Chapman was a long-time member, will present the honor annually and a blue-ribbon committee will select the recipient from all forms of racing.

Chapman’s professional life began in journalism, and Jim went on to become sports editor or managing editor of several Southern newspapers, before going to the New York Times. His career was interrupted by service with the U.S. Air Force during World War II. He entered the public relations business in 1946, as regional PR director for Ford Motor Co. in Detroit, and soon thereafter hired Ruth as consultant to the automaker’s sponsorship of American Legion Junior Baseball. They traveled together for more than two years for personal appearances, became close friends, and Chapman was at Ruth’s bedside when he died in August 1948.

Jim proudly showcased several photos of Ruth in his office. One was inscribed: “To a pal that is a pal.” Chapman also displayed a framed letter, written on Ruth’s personal stationary from Memorial Hospital in New York City, dated July 13, 1948, inviting him to the July 26 premier of the film, The Babe Ruth Story. That letter read, in part, “That evening would not be complete without your being my guest. To you, Jimmy, I say you must be with me that evening.”

In 1950, Chapman left Ford to start his own PR firm, James P. Chapman, Inc. One of his first clients was the fledgling Avis Rent-a-Car Co., founded by his friend, Warren Avis. Chapman devoted much of his time to financial public relations, which he once called his “favorite form of PR,” helping companies get recognition among analysts and even gaining admission to the New York and American Stock Exchanges.

His first venture into motorsports was in 1951, when he joined with the late Bill France Sr., the founder of NASCAR, to promote the Motor City 250. The race was part of Detroit’s 250th birthday celebration, a Chapman client, and staged Aug. 12 at the state fairgrounds.

Chapman’s first involvement in lndy Car racing came in 1967, when friend Ozzie Olson’s Olsonite Corp., another client, entered the sport as sponsor of Dan Gurney’s All-American Racing team. Chapman coordinated Olsonite’s racing program for eight years, first with Gurney driving and later with Bobby Unser, and pioneered the concept of trackside hospitality tents.

“Jim was one of the most innovative and imaginative PR men ever to grace a pit lane,” said Gurney. “Jim practically invented most of what is now considered routine sponsor PR work. He was the first, as far as I know, who thought of putting up a sponsor hospitality tent alongside a racetrack (at the old Riverside, Calif., road course), filling it with extravagant race car ice-sculptures, beautiful food and beautiful people from the business, sports and movie industries. He started an ‘open house’ tradition in Ozzie’s hotel suite in Indianapolis, where journalists could rub shoulders with John Wayne or (astronaut) Scott Carpenter.

“However, I think Jim made his greatest contribution to our sport in the early years of CART, when he started to work for PPG Industries. He created a home in the shape of a tent for the Indy Car family. The PPG tent was the centerpiece of any lndy Car paddock. Here, everybody gathered for the family lunch, and it was there that contacts were made, relationships started, networks woven and friendships cemented.”

In May 1982, Chapman and the late Joe Cloutier, then president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, successfully negotiated to bring the Indianapolis 500 into the PPG Indy Car World Series as a points event. That arrangement lasted through the 1995 race. “That was one of the most satisfying moments of my career,” Chapman recalled. “Roger Penske, among others, told me it was the best thing that had ever happened to CART.”

Tony George, current Speedway president, first met Chapman when George’s late grandfather, Tony Hulman, was owner of IMS. “In his 80 years, Jim put his time on earth to good use,” said George. “While his career was diverse — full of interesting and successful experiences — it was his endeavors of the last 15 years (of his life) that had the most influence on my life and the world of motorsports.

“Jim was no different than any other diplomat who enjoyed challenges. His efforts to bring two sides with different views together were tenacious. As was commonly the case, Jim’s even keel was an influence even when emotions were high. It should be obvious to those who follow our sport that the most cohesive years since 1979 were those during which Jim had a hand on the helm. Always exploring the limits, his contributions and diplomacy speak volumes for his character. He was truly a man for the times.”

E. Kears Pollock, PPG’s senior vice president-coatings and resins, explained a key to Chapman’s success: “He provided me with a tremendous education, and an insight into the importance of relationships in business. I will forever value the things I learned from working with Jim.”

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford was hired by Chapman as captain of the PPG Pace Car Team. The all-female pace car driving team was another Chapman innovation. “Jim always did things right,” said Rutherford. “ He was a stickler for perfection regarding any of his projects. He demanded, and got, the best and had the ability to get the best out of people. He was a successful mediator, usually working behind-the-scenes. I would say Jim’s legacy is that he set a standard that will be there for many years to come.” Indy Car Racing magazine named Chapman the sport’s most influential man of the 1980s. The magazine wrote that Chapman turned “a public relations assignment into an art form.”

Chapman also developed the Driver of the Year Award, sponsored for a time by Olsonite Corp., into one of racing’s most prestigious honors. He orchestrated the presentation during an annual lunch at New York’s famed 21 Club. Following his retirement, Chapman undertook one more assignment, agreeing to Mario Andretti’s personal request that he serve as honorary chairman of Andretti’s Arrivederci, Mario farewell tour in 1994.

Chapman’s professional achievements earned him vast recognition. The mayors of Detroit and Long Beach, Calif., presented him proclamations and the key to each city. In 1993, Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh named him Sagamore of the Wabash, the state’s highest honor. He served as president and/or director of more than 30 Michigan and Detroit-area civic and charitable organizations. Chapman became active in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and represented the Detroit Urban League and United Negro College Fund in several controversial situations. He admitted to shedding “buckets of tears of joy” when Willy T. Ribbs became the first African-American driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1991.

Michael Knight, chairman of AARWBA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, was one of Chapman’s closest friends and received the inaugural Jim Chapman Award in 1991. Other winners include: Tom Blattler, Deke Houlgate, Hank Ives, Kathi Lauterbach, Marc Spiegel, Mike Zizzo and Tamy Valkosky.

Chapman’s legacy is remembered with presentation of the Jim Chapman Award at the AARWBA All-America Team dinner.

  • 1991 winner - Michael Knight
  • 1992 winner - Tom Blattler
  • 1993-94 winners Deke Houlgate and Hank Ives
  • 1995 winner - Kathi Lauterbach
  • 1996 winner - Marc Spiegel
  • 1997 winner - Mike Zizzo
  • 1998 winner - Tamy Valkosky
  • 2004 winner - Doug Stokes, Irwindale Speedway
  • 2005 winner - Susie Arnold, Budwesier King Racing
  • 2006 winner - Kevin Kennedy, PCGCampbell
  • 2007 winners - Bob Carlson, Porsche; Dave Densmore, John Force Racing
  • 2008 - Judy Stropus
  • 2009 - none

The "Dusty Brandel President's" Award, for outstanding service to the AssociationAARWBA Anniversary Logo

  • 2006 winner - Mari Hulman George
  • 2007 winner - Michael F. Hollander
  • 2008 winner - Rocky Entriken
  • 2009 - none
  • 2010 - John Force and John Medlen

Indy 500 Breakfast - Annually on the Saturday before The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort & Inn - Pavilion
Driver interviews, Jigger and Angelo Angelopolous Awards
Writing, Broadcast and Photographer Contest Winners
Door prizes
Reservations required. Members may email to: dusty@aarwba.org
Tickets from Dusty in the Media Center or at the door

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