IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay received the ESPY Award as Best Driver during the 21st annual event on Wednesday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
It is the first ESPY Award presented to an Indy car driver since Jimmy Vasser, current co-owner of KV Racing Technology, in 1997. It was the first ESPY nomination for Hunter-Reay, 32.
Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski also were nominees in the category that was determined by online voting.
“I can’t thank you all enough for your votes and support,” said Hunter-Reay, who also won last year’s RACER of the Year award in a fan vote. Hunter-Reay secured the 2012 IndyCar title in the season finale in a Andretti Autosport car to become the first American to win the series championship since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006.
The awards show, which celebrates the year’s best athletes and moments in sports, was hosted by “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm. Robin Roberts, won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given to an individual whose contributions transcend sports.