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Grubb delivers emotional speech at Myers Brothers Luncheon

December 02, 2011, Mark Aumann,

Outgoing crew chief one of many honored; Junior named most popular ... again

LAS VEGAS -- A poignant, emotional speech by outgoing crew chief Darian Grubb earned a standing ovation as the highlight of Thursday's NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon award ceremony at the Bellagio Ballroom. More than $1 million in award money was doled out from NASCAR's contingency awards program. In addition, Richard Childress earned the prestigious Buddy Shuman Award and Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured his ninth consecutive most popular driver award.

But it was Grubb -- who knew he would be released as Tony Stewart's crew chief at the end of the season, and yet guided the team to five wins during the Chase and the 2011 championship -- who touched nearly everyone in attendance with his heartfelt comments. After being honored with the champion crew chief award, Grubb paused several times to clear his throat and dab at his eyes.

Nathan Tuggle of Wheaties Fuel presents the MPD award to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (HHP Photo)

Myers speeches

Watch as three accept their year-end honors at the NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon.

"Championships definitely don't come easy and I'll cherish this moment for the rest of my life," Grubb said. "I want to acknowledge the employees at Stewart-Haas Racing. It's amazing that we've had this kind of success in such a short time together. Every person there had a part in this championship through your hard work and dedication."

Grubb had particular praise for the crew of the No. 14 Chevrolet.

"The amount of effort you put in while spending so much time away from your families can never be appreciated enough," Grubb said in acknowledgment. "You are a truly special group of guys. The best part is we earned this championship while having fun and enjoying our friendship throughout both the good and the bad times during our three seasons together.

"I hope you truly enjoy what you have accomplished and be proud of having the No. 1 garage stall next year."

Grubb went on to congratulate crew chief Bob Osborne and driver Carl Edwards of the No. 99 Ford team -- which tied for the title, only to lose the tie-breaker -- saying "one day you'll get the championship you both deserve."

He then talked about his relationship with Stewart, thanking him for the opportunity on sit on the pit box for the past three seasons.

"Tony, your driving talent brought this championship home," Grubb said. "Congrats and go get another championship under the Stewart-Haas banner. Thank you for all your friendship and allowing me to be a part of this organization."

Grubb then choked up while thanking his family, in particular wife Yolanda.

"You've been an inspiration and support through all the times we've had," Grubb said. "I couldn't do this without you."

Stewart took home the lion's share of the hardware, winning the driver of the year, position improvement and diamond performance awards; he won $360,000 in contingency award bonus money. In addition, Goodyear presented him with a 24K gold scale replica trophy of his championship winning car.

However, the No. 99 team left with its share of hardware. In addition to crew chief and most valuable pit crew of the year awards, Edwards won the pole award and Doug Yates was named engine builder of the year.

Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon

Award Winners
• Myers Brothers Award: Joe and Rose Mattioli
• NASCAR Foundation Track of the Year Award: Michigan International Speedway
• Wheaties Fuel Most Popular Driver Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
• Buddy Shuman Award: Richard Childress
• NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Toyota
• Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Andy Lally
• Growth Energy American Ethanol Green Flag Restart: Matt Kenseth
• Coors Light Pole Award: Carl Edwards
• Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Tony Stewart
• DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year Award: Bob Osborne
• MOOG Chassis Part Problem Solver of the Year Award: Alan Gustafson
• O'Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award: Tony Stewart
• Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Roush Fenway Racing No.99
• Mahle Engine Builder of the Year Award: Roush Yates Engines No. 99 (Doug Yates)
• Goodyear Gatorback Belts & Hoses Fastest Lap Award: Kyle Busch
• Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Tony Stewart
• Goodyear Tires Award: Tony Stewart
• Champion Sponsor Award: Office Depot and Mobil 1

NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer Brian France summed a successful season by saying 2011 "gave casual fans perhaps looking at us for the first time a way to view the best drivers in the world elevating their performance to give us something special."

* Myers Brothers Luncheon honors awards winners

For more information on the 2011 Sprint Cup Series awards ceremony and NASCAR Champion's Week, click here. For photo images from Champion's Week, including more from the NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon, click below.