Fort Mill, SC; October 9, 2018 – Continental Tire will present its ExtremeSpirit Awards at the 2018 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship banquets this weekend in Atlanta. The award will be presented to one winner in each of the five classes that utilizes Continental Tire as the spec tire: Prototype (P), GT Daytona (GTD), Grand Sport (GS), Touring Car (TCR) and Street Tuner (ST).
The recipients of the ExtremeSpirit Award have demonstrated great respect for fellow competitors, sponsors, track operators, officials, media, and fans throughout the 2018 season. They act as ambassadors for IMSA on and off the track and show an ability to accept victory with humility and defeat graciously. They also display the positive qualities of sportsmanship and have a commitment to excellence that is second-to-none. Their on-track performance speaks for itself while their off-track efforts are revered.
“Over Continental’s previous nine years in the IMSA paddock, we’ve seen firsthand the talent among the paddock,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire. “And that’s not just the talent we see at the track, but what we see away from it as well. We recognize those individuals whose contributions on and off track inspire others. This year we had a wide variety of nominations – including crew members, drivers, and team owners. Their incredible stories are what fuels our passion. These individuals are the heart and soul of their respective paddocks and we are honored to recognize them for their efforts.”
Members of the IMSA paddock were nominated by their fellow team members and competitors alike through a month-long voting process over the summer.
The 2018 winners of the Continental Tire ExtremeSpirit Award are:
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Prototype – Bill Mullen, Crew Member at Wayne Taylor Racing
GTD – Dale Wise, Engineer at Meyer Shank Racing
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
GS – Dean Martin, Team Owner at KohR Motorsports
TCR – Karl Thomson, Team Owner at Compass Racing
ST – James Clay, Team Owner at BimmerWorld Racing
Longtime crew member at Wayne Taylor Racing, Bill Mullen, won the award in the Prototype category.
“Bill Mullen has been nothing but the most pleasurable guy to work with in all the years we’ve been doing this,” said Team Owner, Wayne Taylor. “He is without a doubt the best mechanic anybody would ever want. He never complains, he does his job, and it seems nothing ever fails. I would go so far as to say, in my mind, he is the best mechanic of all time.”
Meyer Shank Racing engineer Dale Wise has been with the team since its inception and has engineered several different cars in IMSA including the Daytona Prototype, LMP2, and most recently the Acura NSX GT3.
“Dale (Wise) is as big of a part of Meyer Shank Racing as I am,” said Team Owner Mike Shank of the GTD ExtremeSpirit Award winner. “The highest compliment I can give him is that there is no Meyer Shank Racing without Dale’s uncompromising pursuit of perfection.”
In the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, KohR Motorsport team owner Dean Martin won the award in the GS category while Compass Racing team owner Karl Thomson won for TCR. James Clay who serves as both Team Owner and GS driver at BimmerWorld Racing won in the ST category.
Martin received multiple nominations for being “simply the best”.
"Dean (Martin) has been doing this a long time - he's been a driver for years, so he knows the ins and outs of strategy and he knows how to talk to the drivers and interpret what they're saying,” said Jesse Cox, Lead Mechanic for KohR Motorsport. “He was also an engineer at Ford, so he knows what to do with the cars, from set-ups and what changes will do what. He goes above and beyond on pretty much everything he does. He knows what he wants to do and expects things to go that direction."
Thomson was nominated because in addition to his drive as a competitor, he is also driven to support those who are less fortunate. Since 2010, Thomson and his team have been welcoming children living with life-threatening illnesses to the track, offering them a day away from being sick.
“To compete in IMSA you must have a total love and dedication to the sport, and only the ones that have a supreme commitment level are able to consistently endure and triumph,” said Compass Racing driver Matt Plumb. “Karl Thomson is the epitome of an IMSA competitor, in good times and bad, he remains the ultimate advocate for his sponsors, team, series, sport and for those in need.”
Clay was nominated because of his commitment at the track and away from it, as well as for his positive leadership of the BimmerWorld Racing team.
“James (Clay) has a go-getter attitude, he gets everybody on the team pumped up and gets everybody focused,” said BimmerWorld Racing driver Tyler Cooke, who has raced for the team since 2013. “He is very strategic and he is one step ahead of everyone else. I’ve enjoyed driving for him because he teaches everybody to be on the same page. He cares. We’re one big family. We’re all in it together.”
Each ExtremeSpirit Award winner will receive a trophy and a check from Continental Tire at their respective banquets this weekend.