For the 10th consecutive season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been voted as the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR garage. The National Motorsports Press Association gave Earnhardt Jr. the award during the annual Myers Brothers Luncheon, held in Las Vegas for the past several years.
Fans across the country voted from February until September to see who would earn the most votes, even though most people knew that no one had a chance to beat Earnhardt Jr. 934,000 total votes were tallied up once the voting concluded as Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart each finished inside of the top-10 which should increase over the next few years for some of those drivers.
His popularity increased dramatically since his father’s death during the final lap of the Daytona 500 and since then, those fans have stuck around with “Little E,” showing they’re true die hard fans.
“I’ve enjoyed this award because it’s a testament to my fans. I appreciate their loyalty and dedication. It was great to get back in Victory Lane this year for my team and for my fans. I’m looking forward to a successful 2013, and am proud to accept this award on behalf of all the fans that voted,” Earnhardt Jr. said during the luncheon while accepting the award.
Earnhardt Jr. is one of just three drivers to win the award five consecutive times or more. Besides Earnhardt Jr. on that list is Richard Petty, who has eight total Most Popular Driver awards, and Bill Elliott, who won the award 10 straight times alike Earnhardt Jr. But Earnhardt Jr. has a long road ahead of him as he has to win six more Most Popular Driver awards just to tie Elliott who was the last driver to win it before Earnhardt Jr. won his first in 2003.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.