With a panel of automotive industry insiders including Roger Penske and Craig Jackson serving as the judges, Harold Craige of New Bern, N.C., a self-described "1941 model with modern updates," emerged as the grand prize winner in the Shell V-Power "Ultimate Enthusiast Contest."
Automotive enthusiasts from across the country shared their stories of why they were the most deserving of the title of the "Ultimate Enthusiast," but it was Craige’s passion for performance and educating future generations of drivers that set the grand prize winner apart from the competition.
As grand prize winner, Craige will receive an "Ultimate Enthusiast" week in Italy, where he and a guest will explore the country’s historic sites and rich automotive history, including an exclusive Ferrari experience in the Prancing Horse’s home town of Maranello, Italy, where Craige will have the opportunity to witness first-hand how Shell has worked closely with Ferrari for more than 60 years on its technical partnership.
"I’m thrilled to be recognized as the ‘Ultimate Enthusiast’ and incredibly honored that these superstars in the automotive world thought so highly of my entry and ultimately my passion for cars," said Craige, a 71-year-old whose submission detailed an unwavering appreciation for the "rolling art" of automobiles. "I’m already counting down the days until I touch down in Italy. What a way to start off the new year!"
Craige was announced as the grand prize winner at the opening night gala of the 42nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he was joined by fellow finalists Paul Gabriel (El Cajon, Calif.) and Ross Luzzader (Hyde Park, Utah). All three finalists received a VIP experience at Barrett-Jackson’s world famous car auction and a year’s worth of Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline.
"We wanted to find and celebrate true automotive enthusiasts, and we did," said Elizabeth Hudson, U.S. Fuels category manager at Shell Oil Products U.S. "There were so many unique tales, but they all had one thing in common … an overwhelming passion for all things automotive and a deep appreciation for the automotive community. While we received a variety of amazing stories, Harold truly stood out and demonstrated an unrelenting passion for automobiles and performance and it’s with that same pride in performance that goes into the development of fuels like Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline."
Top entries were scored by a panel of judges including Roger Penske, founder and chairman of the Penske Corp.; Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson Auction Co.; Eddie Alterman, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver; and Larry Webster, editor-in-chief of Road & Track; Alan Taylor, host of Motor Trend Radio; and Tony Marini, executive director of Hot August Nights.
"Harold possesses a rare trait that I really admire," said Penske. "[In his entry] he showcased an ability to educate others in the realm of automobiles and strives to teach the future generations the value of an older automobile."
Fellow judge Tony Marini added, "When it comes to being an ‘Ultimate Enthusiast,’ I would say Harold fits the bill. His love for automobiles started when he was a young boy and as he has grown, his love for cars has grown."
While the Shell Ultimate Enthusiast Contest is now closed, consumers still have the opportunity to win a $50 Shell Gift Card by becoming a fan of the Shell Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shell and entering the daily online giveaway on the "On The Road" tab.