AMA Superbike Champion Spies Earns AMA Pro Racing Speed Athlete of the Year Nomination

Press release and images courtesy of AMA Pro Racing

Fresh from winning the 2006 AMA SuperbikeChampionship presented by Parts Unlimited, Ben Spies has learned that he is one of the honorednominees for the 2006 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year Award.

Spies earned the AMA Superbike title in only his second full year in the series and now theyoung rider from Longview, Texas, has earned his first nomination for AMA Pro Racing's highestaward.

"It's a real honor to be nominated for the Athlete of the Year," said Spies, who is the secondyoungest rider ever to win the AMA Superbike Championship. "It would be nice to win the award, butbeing only 22 and in my second year of Superbike, I'm sure that it's going to be tough consideringwho some of the other nominees might be. Still, I'm happy to be considered among the best in all ofAmerican motorcycle racing this year."

Spies has built an impressive list of accomplishments, well beyond what one would expectfrom such a young athlete. He was named AMA Horizon Award winner in 2000 as the country'sleading amateur road racer. In 2003 Spies won the AMA Formula Xtreme Championship. This yearSpies had a record-setting season in Superbike riding for Yoshimura Suzuki. In 19 rounds Spies wona series leading 10 races and only finished off the podium twice. He also won a best-in-series sevenpoles at the 11 racing venues.

Spies also tied the mark of six consecutive AMA Superbike wins established by MiguelDuhamel in 1995.

"It was an awesome season," Spies allowed. "The bike was great and my team workedawesome together. Next year I know what to expect and I plan on coming back more ready than I'veever been."

Spies hopes to follow in the footsteps of teammate Mat Mladin, who was the last road racer towin the Athlete of the Year Award. Mladin took the honor in 2000.

The 2006 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year will be named at the 32nd annual AMAPro Racing Awards Banquet on Sunday evening, Nov. 19 at Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in LasVegas. Spies is the third nominee announced for 2006 and joins Josh Hayes and Ricky Carmichael.The remaining nominees will be announced over the next few days.

About the AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year AwardThe AMA Pro Racing SPEED Athlete of the Year Award is the highest honor an AMAcompetitor can receive. Past recipients include such legendary racers as Bob Hannah, Scott Parkerand Kenny Roberts, among others. The award goes to the rider judged to have had the mostsuccessful racing year. The rider's career achievements can also be considered if the seasoncomplements a remarkable career. A selection panel made up of AMA and AMA Pro Racing staff,field staff and volunteer leadership is named by the AMA CEO and that panel evaluates nominationsand determines the final winner.

Spies, being rewarded the number one plate after he became the 2006 AMA Superbike Champion
Spies leading the AMA Superbike race at Laguna Seca, 2006