Dry Ice Award
Hakkinen, for remaining cool enough to lead the Grand Prix of Japan from start to finish and take the world tide.
Career Gambler Award
Ray Evernham, Gordon's former crew chief, who bailed out of Hendrick Motorsports just as he was about to be made boss of the three-driver team. Evernham will try to build a winning team with DaimlerChrysler, which enters the Winston Cup fray in 2001.
Black Bart Rides Again Award
Dale Earnhardt, for returning to his roguish form in wrecking Terry Labonte to win the Aug. 28 Goody's 500 at Bristol, Tenn.
Quote of the Year
"I don't know whether I have any more tears." Team owner Robert Yates upon winning his first Winston Cup championship after enduring the death of Davey Allison in a helicopter crash in '93 and life-threatening injuries to Ernie Irvan in '94.
Wrong Foot Award
NBC, for its dull and confusing debut at Winston Cup telecasting, the Nov. 14 Pennzoil 400 at Homestead- Miami, three days after the network announced its long-term commitment to broadcasting NASCAR races.
Slick Operator Award
Speedway Motorsports Inc. president HA Wheeler, who cajoled the struggling IRL into agreeing to reimburse Speedway for any losses it might suffer due to poor attendance at IRL races held at its Atlanta and Las Vegas tracks next season.
Lest We Forget
A Tragic Year At the Tracks
Tragedy struck motor racing especially hard in 1999. CART was devastated in one 51-day stretch—first by the death of rookie driver Gonzalo Rodriguez, 27, in a crash during practice at Laguna Seca, Calif., on Sept. 11, then by the death of rising star Greg Moore, 24, in an Oct. 31 wreck during the Marlboro 500 at California Speedway. This came in a season that had already been marred by the deaths of three fans and injuries to eight others when debris from a crash flew into the grandstands during the IRL's VisionAire 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 1.
All told, it was the deadliest year for drivers since 1994, when F/1 titan Ayrton Senna and rookie Roland Ratzenberger were killed during the San Marino Grand Prix weekend in Imola, Italy, and budding NASCAR star Irvan suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash at Michigan Speedway.
NASCAR's Hottest Twosome
Beware Labonte And Stewart