Earnhardt Jr. Most Popular for 15th Year

Dale Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. received the Most Popular Driver Award for the 15th consecutive year along with the Bill France Award of Excellence on Thursday night. (Photo: Getty Images)


Dale Earnhardt Jr. received  the Most Popular Driver Award along with the Bill France Award of Excellence on Thursday night.

Earnhardt Jr., who retired from full-time competition at the conclusion of the 2017 season, was named the National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver for the 15th consecutive time by nearly 68 percent of the votes cast by fans.

Following being named Most Popular Driver on stage at the annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards at the Wynn Las Vegas, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France presented Earnhardt Jr. with the Bill France Award of Excellence.

"I always tell people all the time, all I wanted to do was be able to pay my bills and be able to race a long time," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I've always tried to take a lot of pride in taking the sport to new places and introducing it to new people."

Thirty-three drivers received votes for this year’s MPD award.

Completing the top 10 in this year’s voting were (listed alphabetically): Ryan Blaney (Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford), Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota), Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet); Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet), Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota), Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet), Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Ford) and Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota).

The Most Popular Driver Award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote. It has been presented annually since 1953; the recipients were originally determined by a poll of competitors. It became a fan-driven program in 1984 under the guidance of the NMPA.

In addition to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, MPD awards were announced for the XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series.
Elliott Sadler, who finished second in the XFINITY Series championship battle won the NASCAR XFINITY Series MPD award; Sunoco Rookie of the Year Chase Briscoe was voted Camping World Truck Series MPD by fans.

Sadler and Briscoe will be honored Dec. 9 during NASCAR Champions Week in Charlotte.


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