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“It’s great to see so many women on the track this year,” said founder Angie Hicks of the four women in Sunday’s race. “Katherine has proven to be a relentless competitor with a razor sharp focus on what she wants to accomplish. We really respond to that kind of spirit around here at Angie’s List, so we’re thrilled to partner with her.”


DRIVER OF THE YEAR: With three wins in the first 11 races of the Sprint Cup Series season, Matt Kenseth was an easy winner Wednesday in first quarter voting for Driver of the Year.

Kenseth received 10 first-place votes and 110 points from media members across the country to beat IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe. The Canadian won two of the first four IndyCar races this season, and received one first-place vote and totaled 55 points.

Kenseth seemed surprised to win the award, and credited new team Joe Gibbs Racing.

“It’s always an honor whenever you’re selected for any kind of award from the media or the fans,” Kenseth said. “I never even thought of receiving this award, so it’s pretty cool to have been selected for this. There’s really not a lot that I can take credit for, though, because it’s truly a testament to everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and how fast the cars are that they’ve given us to start the season off with.

“I feel like all three of our JGR teams have been fast and competitive at every track this year and capable of winning each week. We have a really great group and I think that we learn a lot and work together in order to be successful.”

Kyle Busch, one of Kenseth’s teammates, finished third with two first-place votes and 50 points. Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race, also had one first-place vote. A total of 15 drivers received votes.

In its 47th year, the Driver of the Year polls 18 media members. Four panelists did not vote in first quarter polling.


ANNETT’S BACK: Michael Annett has been cleared to race again after missing eight races following an accident in the Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona.

Annett broke his sternum in the February accident. He was sidelined for three months, and has spent the last three weeks in physical therapy. An MRI on Monday this week determined he was ready to race again, and Annett will run this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Obviously, I can’t wait to get back into the No. 43,” Annett said. “It has been a long three months, and I am more than ready to jump back in the car. The accident at Daytona was disappointing for our team, but I’m very grateful for the amount of support I had from the team, NASCAR, family, friends and fans and not to mention the outstanding medical team that helped me through all of this.

“While it was really hard to be on the sidelines, I realize that it was even more important to heal properly.”