Holly Cain, who has been a respected motorsports journalist for more than 25 years and shown courage and provided inspiration in the face of personal adversity, Friday was honored with the Bob Russo Founders Award for dedication to auto racing.Cain currently writes for NASCAR.com .
The award was presented to Cain by Russo Award Chairman Bill Marvel, Russo's longtime friend and 2011 honoree, in a ceremony in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's media center.Russo, the much-admired and honored motorsports journalist/publicist/historian, founded the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association in 1955. Russo helped racing gain early national media attention in the 1950s via his stories in Speed Age magazine. He consulted IMS owner Tony Hulman on the future direction of the sport when AAA stopped sanctioning races, which led to the formation of the U.S. Auto Club. Among Russo's successes in public relations were the legendary Mobil Economy Run and with NHRA and Riverside International Raceway. Russo was the Miller Brewing Co.'s media representative for its primary sponsorship of Danny Sullivan when he won the 1985 Indy 500. His historical research and archives benefitted the sport overall, including the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He died in 1999 and age 71.
The Russo Award, as stated on the plaque, is presented "to an individual who has demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts and undying dedication to auto racing as exemplified by Russo throughout his lifelong career.”Cain's career includes award-winning tenures at the Tampa Tribune, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Dallas Morning News. She also wrote for AOL Fanhouse and FoxSports.com and authored the book Rusty's Last Call, on driver Rusty Wallace's last NASCAR season. She has been a NASCAR.com senior writer since 2012.
Cain has earned numerous journalism honors, including awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors and Society of Professional Journalists.
Cain was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2014 and has written candidly about her experiences battling the disease. She also speaks to public groups and helps in cancer research fundraising activities. Despite her illness, Cain has continued with insightful motorsports coverage, and in 2015 won the NMPA's Spirit Award in recognition of her positive attitude and achievement in the face of adversity.Cain is the first female to win the Russo Award on an individual basis.
Previous Russo Award winners include: 2005 – Michael Knight; 2006 – Wally Parks; 2007 – Chris Economaki; 2008 – Bob Jenkins; 2009 – Shav Glick; 2010 -- Bill York; 2011 -- Bill Marvel; 2012 -- Paul Page; 2013 -- The Hulman-George and France Families; 2014 -- Donald Davidson; 2015 -- Dick Jordan; 2016 -- Dan Luginbuhl. A permanent plaque with all winners’ names is on display in the Speedway media center.
The award is sponsored by Collene and Gary Campbell, the sister and brother-in-law of the late Mickey Thompson.