LAS VEGAS (CBS SPORTS) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. has once again won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award.
The award, given annually since 1956, is Earnhardt’s 10th consecutive honor and was presented to him Thursday during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon at The Encore at Wynn in Las Vegas. This now ties him with Bill Elliott as the only other driver to be presented the award 10 years in a row. Elliott is still the all-time leader with 16 overall.
After fans voted from February to September, the 10 drivers earning the most votes were reset to zero. Drivers Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart were all finalists who fans voted for during the final 10 weeks of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. After more than 934,000 votes were cast this season, Earnhardt proved once again to be the fans’ favorite.
Completing the voting, in order, were Gordon, Kahne, Stewart, Johnson, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Edwards, Kenseth and Labonte. Earnhardt has now won the award since 2003, and with Elliott and Richard Petty, are the only drivers to receive it at least five consecutive times.
“It was an honor to hear that I won this year and am now tied with Bill [Elliott] for 10 in a row,” Earnhardt said. “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.”
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