Bobby Rahal, president of the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC), named FIA Senate President Nick Craw as the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Phil Hill Award at a dinner preceding the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The Phil Hill Award has been presented annually since 1993 to the person who the RRDC feels has rendered outstanding service to road racing. The recipient may be a driver, entrant or outstanding member of a sanctioning body.
The award is named in honor of America’s first Formula One World Champion (in 1961), and is not only a tribute to his masterful accomplishments on the race track, it also recognizes his contributions as a great ambassador for the sport. Among his international wins is the 1964 Daytona 2000km race, precursor to the Rolex 24. Hill passed away in 2008.
Craw was elected in 2009 as President of the Senate, the number two position in the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. The FIA is the governing body for worldwide motorsports that includes 100 million members and features the Formula One and World Rally Championships.
Based in Denver, Craw had been an FIA Senate member while also head of the American Automobile Competition Committee of the U.S. (ACCUS). Prior to accepting that position, he was President and CEO of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) for 17 years, and Executive Director of U.S. SAILING.
A Princeton graduate with a Harvard MBA, Craw had been involved with the Project HOPE hospital ship, VISTA and the Peace Corps, and was a sports-car racing driver from 1968-1977, mainly as a factory BMW driver. He resigned as Peace Corps Director in 1974 in order to race full-time and, as a professional race-car driver, claimed the IMSA Goodrich Radial Challenge Championship in 1973 and 1975.
“Nick Craw is not only a stalwart member of the RRDC, but he has given back to the international motorsports community in many ways,” said Rahal. “He is currently the president of the FIA Senate, which is a powerful position.
“He has been so supportive of this club for many years and he truly reflects the spirit of the group. He is an accomplished racer in his own right, and I am proud to name Nick Craw as the recipient of the 2010 Phil Hill Award.”
“I’m honored and humbled and grateful,” said Craw. “I got started in this business to go racing; I just wanted to beat people. And one thing and another evolved and long after my racing career was over I was either fortunate or unfortunate enough to be drawn back into the sport and the result has been extremely rewarding and gratifying.
“When I was elected to this group back in the dark ages it was at the time, I thought, the highest honor that could be bestowed on a racing driver. Championships only last for a year but RRDC is for life. And this group has maintained that culture and that spirit over the years and shows great promise to the future.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to give something back to the sport that’s given me so much and I hope to be able to continue to do that on behalf of this club, and I thank you for the honor.”
Craw was then grilled by Speed TV’s preeminent race commentator Bob Varsha, fielding questions on subjects that ranged from the future of Formula One competition and the return of Michael Schumacher to Formula One, to the status of all forms of motorsports in the United States.
Past RRDC Phil Hill Award Winners:
1993 John Bishop
1994 Juan Manuel Fangio II
1995 Leo Mehl
1996 Charlie Slater
1997 Danny Sullivan
1998 Rob Dyson
1999 Bob Fergus
2000 Elliott Forbes Robinson
2001 Bill France
2002 Jim Downing
2003 Derek Bell
2004 Brian Redman
2005 Jim France
2006 Roger Werner
2007 Skip Barber
2008 Roger Penske
2009 Bob Bondurant
2010 Nick Craw
[Source: RRDC; photo credit, Brian Cleary]