Earnhardt Jr. Receives 15th Most Popular Driver Award

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his debut with NBC Sports at the Super Bowl. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr., who retired from full-time competition in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the conclusion of the 2017 season, has been named the National Motorsports Press Ass’n Most Popular Driver for the 15th consecutive time.

Earnhardt’s selection was announced Thursday during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards program at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Earnhardt, 43, was named on nearly 68 percent of the votes cast by fans.

The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt is one of eight drivers to receive the award on multiple occasions. Only one other driver, Bill Elliott, has won the award more often – Elliott was named the series’ most popular driver 16 times between 1984 and 2002.

Completing the top 10 in this year’s voting were (listed alphabetically): Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Danica Patrick and Martin Truex Jr.

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.

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

In addition to hosting the voting platform for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series MPD award, fan votes to determine the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series were also hosted on NASCAR.com.

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.