Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown and Top Alcohol Dragster racer Shawn Cowie are the 2013 recipients of CompetitionPlus.com’s “Mike Aiello Spirit of Drag Racing” awards. CompetitionPlus.com owner Bobby Bennett and 2010 recipient Jack Beckman of DSR made the presentations Nov. 10 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona before eliminations in the Auto Club Finals.
The award–presented for the first time to both a professional racer and a sportsman racer–honors Aiello, a former standout college athlete from Houston and Texas Tech University who was a longtime drag-racing fan and former NHRA crew member. Aiello spent his final years confined to a wheelchair after a workplace injury. Despite physical hardship and severe mobility limitations, he not only attended dragraces but made dozens of friends among racers, crew members and media with his positive outlook and unselfish behavior. Aiello was 39 when
died Dec. 29, 2006, at Santa Monica, Calif.
The Mike Aiello Award recipient is someone who has persevered and remained positive in spite of hardship, and both Brown and Cowie have done that in their racing and personal lives.