Dale Earnhardt Jr. claimed his 11th-consecutive NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday during the National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Luncheon in Las Vegas. His 11th trophy breaks a tie Earnhardt previously shared with Bill Elliott for most-consecutive wins in the category. Elliott does, though, still hold the honor of having the highest number of Most Popular awards with 16.
“I don’t really keep track of the stats or the score, but Bill was a great driver and ambassador for the sport,” Earnhardt said. “He represents the sport really well, to this day, as does his son Chase, who’s coming up and carrying on the family name. But I’ve always looked up to Bill as a driver, so it’s pretty neat.”
The Most Popular Driver Award is a fan-voted honor. For this year’s award, more than a million votes were cast for the 39 drivers eligible for the honor. Earnhardt collected more than 700,000 votes.
“We always have such great support from our fans,” Earnhardt said. “They always come through every year, and this year, we feel like we were giving them a lot to cheer for on the race track and paying them back for all the years they’ve voted for us to win this award.”
The other nine top-10 drivers in order of votes received were Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR