DETROIT, Jan. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Breaking with a longstanding tradition of naming the Best of the Best cars and trucks, Autoweek is launching its inaugural Autoweek Awards to recognize individuals or companies who, over the course of the last year, have made substantial contributions to the continued relevance and advancement of car culture. As America's motorsports publication of record, Autoweek also will recognize the racers and teams who provided the most memorable moments in motorsports from the previous year.
Selected by Autoweek editorial staff, the winners of the 2016 Autoweek Awards are:
Car Culture – Ken Block Who has done more to bring new blood into car culture than Ken Block? His Gymkhana videos are a genuine pop-culture phenomenon and he has fans young and old paying attention to motorsports again. No one has had a greater impact on the way that we engage with car culture than Block.
Driver – Erica Enders Erica Enders is coming off her second straight NHRA Pro Stock Championship. No other driver has dominated their sport to the degree that Enders has over the course of the last two years. Enders' success goes back many years, being named NHRA Sportsman Rookie of the Year in 2000 at the age of 16.
Team – Mercedes F1 Since 2014, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team has been the unstoppable force in Formula One, winning the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships in 2014 and 2015. Mercedes-Benz has gotten ahead of vehicle regulatory and performance requirements in F1, and it has paid off.
Moment – Juan Pablo Montoya The final moments of the 2015 Indy 500 reminded us all why it's called The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Juan Pablo Montoya's victory in yet another hyper-competitive 500 was among the most dramatic finishes in any sport last year. Where other series seem content to allow races to be decided during qualifying, IndyCar keeps producing moments that race fans will remember for a lifetime.
Rising Star – Erik Jones Erik Jones, at age 19, appears to be a future NASCAR star. In his three years driving in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Jones notched seven wins, seven poles and 33 top 10s. In two years competing in NASCAR's Xfinity Series, he secured two wins, 20 top 10s and three poles. Last year he made his official Sprint Cup debut in the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 after having relieved an ailing Denny Hamlin in the Food City 500. Jones made two additional Sprint Cup starts in 2015 and will add to that total in 2016 as Joe Gibbs Racing has made his development a top priority.
Constructor – Chevrolet No manufacturer races in more disciplines, and no one did it more successfully than Chevrolet in 2015. Whether it's NASCAR, IndyCar, drag racing, or sports cars, you can bet that Chevrolet will have a victory.
Autoweek Achievement – The Denise McCluggage Award: Jeff Gordon Nothing seems more befitting than to award Jeff Gordon our inaugural lifetime achievement award, named after our own Denise McCluggage, who accomplished so much in her lifetime as America's preeminent female auto racing driver and journalist. In nearly a quarter-century of driving, Jeff Gordon helped transform stock-car racing into a mainstream American sport. He was not only a great, highly successful racer, but was extremely professional, gracious and respected by all.
Read more about the winners at autoweek.com/awards and #AutoweekAwards beginning Jan. 4, 2016.
Autoweek tells the stories from every corner of a vibrant car culture. From the historic to the cutting edge, from the glitzy to the grassroots, Autoweek documents the people, events and machines that interest car people all over the world. For over 57 years, Autoweek has also been trackside covering every form of motorsports. Today we deliver news, features and analysis online, in social media and in print.
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