Winners received their awards at Richard Childress Racing shop
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As hundreds of writers, broadcasters and photographers began the 31st NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, several of the journalists left the first day with an extra gift in the form of one of the most prestigious motorsports awards.
The Russ Catlin Award for Excellence in Motorsports Journalism recognizes the best motorsports coverage in five categories: Daily and Non-Daily Writing, Local and National Broadcast and Photojournalism. Entries are open to all forms of motorsports coverage.
This year’s winners -- the 28th -- were Thomas Pope (Fayetteville Observer), Kris Johnson (NASCAR Illustrated), Andrew Doud (WSOC-TV, Charlotte, N.C.), Rosie Barresi (SPEED) and Gary Nastase (National Dragster).
Russ Catlin was one of the best-known racing writers and historians, contributing articles and information to several publications. He was also a pioneer of motorsports public relations and served as publicist for Darlington Raceway during the 1960s. He also guided several influential figures in the motorsports field, including former Charlotte Motor Speedway General Manager Humpy Wheeler, who established the awards in his honor.
The Indiana University School of Journalism judged the award entries. The recipients were honored at a ceremony held at Richard Childress Racing during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Winners received a trophy and $1,000 scholarship from Charlotte Motor Speedway in their names to the school of their choice.
-- Russ Catlin, circa 1960
The 2012 Charlotte Motor Speedway Russ Catlin Awards for Excellence in Motorsports Journalism are as follows:
Writing - Daily
Thomas Pope - Fayetteville Observer
Entry: "Rock of Ages"
Judges' Comments: The reporter brings Bowman Gray Stadium to life, revealing the culture of grassroots racing with plenty of local color. Whether readers are racing fans or not, they will recognize the passion and connection to place as universal human experiences.
Scholarship: Methodist University
Writing - Non-Daily
Kris Johnson - NASCAR Illustrated
Entry: "Skin in the Game"
Judges' Comments: This story explores the intersection of gender, fame, sponsorship and legacy through multiple perspectives. The reporter shows the complexity of a controversial issue that has wide-reaching implications.
Scholarship: Middlebury College
Broadcast - Local
Andrew Doud - WSOC-TV, Charlotte, NC
Entry: "Pit Crew Training"
Judges' Comments: This story has everything a great broadcast feature needs: quality reporting, great interviews and natural sound, effective editing and videography. This report makes clear the importance of teamwork in racing. The audience "walks" in the pit crew's shoes.
Scholarship: Elon University
Broadcast - National
Rosie Barresi – SPEED
Entry: "Pass in the Grass"
Judges' Comments: Entertaining story that provides context for multiple elements of NASCAR history: Dale Earnhardt's legendary status, the coining of a famous phrase, and the role of rivalries in racing. Broadcast on the 25th anniversary of the "pass in the grass," this piece is both timely and timeless, balancing ample research and reporting with humor and good storytelling.
Scholarship: Columbia College Chicago
Gary Nastase - National Dragster
Entry: "Funny Car Explosion”
Judges' Comments: An aesthetically pleasing photo rife with visual intrigue and definite "stopping power." Although the situation is not unique, the photographer captured an image that also functions as spot news.
Scholarship: Mt. San Antonio College