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NOVEMBER 30, 2004

Indianapolis Star votes Schumacher number 1

Michael Schumacher has been named Driver of the Year by The Indianapolis Star newspaper, an extraordinary event for a US paper given that interest in F1 in the United States is somewhat limited at the moment. The decision was taken based on scores in a number of categories, including statistical comparisons and online voting.

Schumacher finished ahead of Indy Racing League champion Tony Kanaan, who made racing history by completing every lap of the season on the way to his first major title. There were 10 candidates for the title, nine of whom had raced in Indiana and Schumacher scored 41 of a possible 50 points. Kanaan collected 39, Champ Car's Sebastien Bourdais and the NHRA's Greg Anderson tied for third with 32 points apiece. The NHRA's Tony Schumacher and the World of Outlaws' Steve Kinser tied for fifth with 30. Rounding out the top 10 were Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch.

The only category in which Schumacher did not score well was on "presentation," which was defined as personality, comportment, willingness to help market and promote his series and his relationship with fans and media. Jeff Gordon won that.

The NASCAR stars did not fare well in the competition because the drivers in the Nextel Cup cannot enjoy the kind of equipment advantage enjoyed by Schumacher, Kanaan and Bourdais.