Dale Jr. Wins Most Popular Driver Award

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NASCAR fans across the nation voted Dale Earnhardt Jr. the most popular driver in 2006. Earnhardt, Jr. was presented with the NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award today at the NASCAR Myers Brothers Award Luncheon in New York City.

After receiving the award today, this marks the fourth consecutive year the North Carolina native has won the prestigious award. After his selection in 2005, Earnhardt, Jr. joined drivers Bill Elliott and Richard Petty as the only drivers to win four-straight.

"I want to thank General Mills, Chex and the National Motorsports Press Association for this award,” said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. “It's a great honor, because it's the only award in our sport voted on by the fans. I share this award with my fans, because it is as much theirs as it is mine. I've always been grateful for their loyalty and support. Words can't say how much I appreciate it."

Throughout the race season, race fans logged on to www.mostpopulardriver.com and voted for their favorite driver. A total of 2,835,277 votes were cast this year, with Earnhardt, Jr. receiving 1,172,195 votes.

“General Mills has been sponsoring this award since 2002 and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been the fan favorite,” said Becky O’Grady, vice president of marketing for Chex cereal. “NASCAR fans are second to none, pledging their allegiance to their favorite driver with vigor each and every Sunday. As the only award determined by the fans, the NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award speaks volumes about the millions of passionate NASCAR fans and their dedication.”

Jeff Gordon finished second in the voting, followed by Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and Elliott Sadler.

More than 40 NEXTEL Cup Series drivers were eligible in 2006 for the esteemed NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award, which is administered by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). It has been awarded annually since 1956 and is one of the oldest awards in racing.

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