GOVERNOR'S AWARD GOES TO EARNHARDT

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    As part of the recognition that surrounds the annual induction ceremony at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame each year, the Governor of Alabama presents an award to an individual or group that has made significant contributions to the growth of motorsports.

     Governor Don Siegelman has named Dale Earnhardt as the recipient of the Governor's Award for 2001. The award will be presented to members of the Earnhardt family as part of the induction ceremony program on the evening of April 19th. It will take place in the Speedvision Dome at the Hall of Fame.

     Past recipients of the award include Bill France, Jr., Tony George, Roger Penske and T. Wayne Robertson.

     The impact that the seven-time Winston Cup champion had on racing in Alabama paralleled the success he had at Talladega Superspeedway. He won 10 Winston Cup races, including the 76th and final one of his career in last October's Winston 500. He is Talladega's all-time winner, counting one Busch race and three IROC races, with 14.

     Earnhardt was a magnet that drew fans from all over the country to watch him work his magic at Talladega. Souvenir sales consistently listed Earnhardt, by a wide margin, at the top of the chart, and there is no doubt he accounted for more ticket sales than any other driver. While his economic impact on the state cannot be precisely documented, it has to be in the millions of dollars, perhaps tens of millions.

     The Governor's Award will be presented to him on the same night his good friend Neil Bonnett will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, along with Jimmy Bryan, Mike Hailwood and Fred Offenhauser. Tickets for the dinner and ceremony remain on sale at the Hall of Fame office. For more information, please call 256/362-5002.

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