"ALL-AMERICAN DRIVER CHALLENGE" FINDS ITS NEWEST YOUNG GUN IN 16-YEAR-OLD TANNER SWANSON
DENVER, NC (3/5/2007) – After nearly 14 hours of intense testing this past weekend at historic Hickory Motor Speedway, the All-American Driver Challenge (AADC) found its new champion, 16-year-old Tanner Swanson of Kingsburg, CA.
"Wow! All I could think was, ‘Did they say my name or someone else's?'" said Swanson. "It's incredible to win something like this."
Swanson, along with nine other finalists, competed for the big prize… a fully-paid contract to drive in the Calico Coatings USAC Ford Focus Midget for the 2007 season. The judges painstakingly deliberated for more than two hours to decide who would be the 2007 AADC champion. "It was a much tougher decision this year," said AADC owner, Tracy Trotter. "Last year there were a couple of kids who stood out. This year, there were easily four or five who we know we could win races with."
Under the lights Friday night and all day on Saturday, the 10 AADC finalists tested behind the wheel of the AADC midget where the judges evaluated them on their ability to handle the car and to communicate how the car was performing. Coaching from famed chassis builder, Bob East gave Challengers valuable insight into their strengths and weaknesses on the track. Each Challenger's response to East's advice also helped the judges determine how coachable they were as well as their capacity to effectively communicate with a crew chief.
Judges for the final round of competition included Bob East; motor sports journalist, Bones Bourcier; sports announcer and host, Rick Benjamin; AADC owner/promoter, Tracy Trotter and AADC crew chief, Gary Huffman.
Swanson is a sophomore at Kingsburg High School where he maintains a 4.0 GPA, is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Future Farmers of America and is also on his high school basketball, tennis and cross country teams. He began racing at the tender age of 10 running in the Junior Sprint Class. His racing accomplishments include the 2006 Modified Super Toyota Championship and the Rookie of the Year award as well as the Plaza Park Raceway Multi 600 Championship.
After months of qualifying at local karting facilities, 60 Challengers from all points on the compass brought their helmets and their dreams to compete in the semifinals of the AADC at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games in suburban Atlanta on February 2nd-4th. The Challengers battled in both road course and oval track races, then were interviewed individually by the panel of judges who grilled the challengers on their goals, driving styles and media awareness. After two days of stiff competition, the field was narrowed down to 10 drivers who were asked to advance to the final round.
In addition to a driving contract, Swanson will also receive a three-day racing school at the American Racing Academy in Las Vegas courtesy of www.racingschools.com, the world's largest single source of auto racing school information. Simpson Performance Products, well-known manufacturer of safety apparel and equipment to the motorsports community, will be providing Swanson with a complete driver uniform including embroidered racing suit, helmet, gloves and shoes.
The All-American Driver Challenge is a driver search and competition that is geared toward fostering the best up-and-coming talent, ages 15-23, for a future career in a professional American racing series. AADC winners will be developed for the opportunity to advance to higher levels of racing including the USAC™ National Midget, Silver Crown™, Sprint and NASCAR® Late Model Weekly Racing Series. The All-American Driver Challenge is presented by Calico Coatings and sponsored by American Racing Academy, Racingschools.com, Unique Pizza and Subs, Simpson Race Products, The Joie of Seating, Mechanix Wear, Under X, K&N Filters and endorsed by USAC. For more information on The All-American Driver Challenge, please visit www.allamericandriver.com or call 1.800.861.6491.