The American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence (AMMAOE) and award sponsor Goodyear Racing are proud to announce the recipient of the 2023 honor — long-time sportswriter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the late Benny Kahn.

Kahn was one of the first full-time sportswriters to focus on motorsports. He was an eye-witness to the founding and early growth of NASCAR. He was also among the media who, after watching the first Daytona 500 in 1959, helped convince NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., that Lee Petty and not Johnny Beauchamp (as originally flagged) was the rightful winner. For many years, the infield media center at Daytona International Speedway was named in his honor.

First awarded to longtime Associated Press motorsports writer Bloys Britt in 1969, the AMMAOE is this country‘s most coveted and enduring award for motorsports journalism. The award is administered and voted on by fellow motorsports journalists, all of whom are previous AMMAOE recipients. It is given only in years when a significant portion of the membership votes for a nominated candidate. In recent years the award has gone to print, broadcast and photojournalists representing varying disciplines of motorsports throughout the country.

Originally, the award was named for the late Henry T. McLemore, one of the first journalists to cover motorsports. He had a long career as a sports columnist for United Press International and was a syndicated columnist for Hearst newspapers. He became acquainted with NASCAR and France Sr,, who encouraged him to first attend, then cover the growing sport of stock car racing. The membership voted in 2020 to rename the award the American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence to more clearly identify itself as a national journalism organization focused on all forms of motorsports.

Kahn is the 43rd recipient of the award and the third motorsports writer from the Daytona Beach News-Journal so named, joining Godwin Kelly (1994) and Ken Willis (2010).

“Better late than never for Benny, who was literally there at the beginning of NASCAR,” said Willis. “He not only chronicled the start and the formative years of NASCAR, but wrote about it with great style. Auto racing became his calling card, but whether it was cars, fishing or football, he wrote about it wonderfully.”

Goodyear Racing came on to sponsor the award this year, helping to re-design the award boards that hold plaques with etchings of each recipient. The boards will be on full-time display in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at Daytona International Speedway.

1969 – Bloys Britt-  Associated Press
1970 – Bob Myers – Charlotte News/Circle Track
1971  – Ray Marquette – Indianapolis Star
1973 – Chris Economaki – National Speed Sport News/CBS/ABC
1974 – Joe Dowdall – Detroit News
1975 – Ken Squier – CBS-TV
1977 – Shav Glick – Los Angeles Times
1978 – Benny Phillips – High Point Enterprise
1980 – Tom Higgins – Charlotte Observer
1981 – Barney Hall – Motor Racing Network
1982 – Dick Berggren – Stock Car Racing Magazine
1984 – George Cunningham – Atlanta Journal
1985 – Mike Harris – Associated Press
1986 – Randy Hallman – The Richmond News Leader
1987 – Dick Mittman – Indianapolis Star
1989 – Steve Waid – Roanoke Times/NASCAR Scene
1992 – Deb Williams – UPI/NASCAR Scene
1993 – Eli Gold – Motor Racing Network/TNN
1994 – Godwin Kelly – Daytona Beach News-Journal
1998 – Gerald Martin – Raleigh News & Observer
1999 – Ned Jarrett – Motor Racing Network/CBS
2001 – Bob Jenkins – ESPN
2002 – Sandy McKee – Baltimore Sun
2003 – Al Pearce – Daily Press/Auto Week
2004 – Larry Woody – Nashville Tennessean
2005 – T. Taylor Warren – NASCAR Photographer
2007 – Mike Hembree – NASCAR Scene
2010 – Ken Willis – Daytona Beach News-Journal
2011 – Mike Joy – MRN/CBS/TNN/TBS/FOX
2012 – Kenny Bruce – NASCAR Scene
2013 – Thomas Pope – Fayetteville Observer
2014 – David Poole – Charlotte Observer
2015-  Lenny Sammons – Area Auto Racing News
2016 – Pat Singer Area Auto – Racing News/Philadelphia Journal
2017 – Holly Cain – Tribune
2018 – Robin Miller – RACER Magazine/NBCSN
2019 – Sam Posey – Auto Week/ABC
2020 – Bob Pockrass – FOX Sports
2021 – Bones Bourcier – Freelance & Pete Lyons Photographer
2022 – Bob Varsha – ESPN & Jonathan Ingram Freelance

— Goodyear —

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