LAS VEGAS (Dec. 4, 2015) – For the 13th straight season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been named NASCAR Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver by the membership of the National Motorsports Press Association and NASCAR’s millions of fans. The award was announced today at the annual NASCAR Championship Week celebration in Las Vegas.
“When all this started, I never dreamed I would win 13 of these,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Our fans, they just continue to support what we do and I’m thankful for that. We won three more races this year, which is good and gives me a lot of hope for 2016, and the fans are staying with us year in and year out. We’ve been able to reward that loyalty with victories, which is how it should be.”
The award, given to the winner of an online vote conducted by series sponsor Sprint and the NMPA, has been presented annually since 1953, when Lee Petty accepted the first trophy. Since then, 17 drivers have won it, led by Bill Elliott, who won it a record 16 times. Earnhardt Jr.’s 13 triumphs are second only to Elliott, and have come in consecutive years since 2003. The award is the only one determined by the fans in NASCAR.
Earnhardt Jr. and his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., are the second father-son driver duo to win the award. The first was Lee and Richard Petty. Lee Petty won the first two awards, in 1953 and 1954, and Richard won nine times over his career.
Beginning in July, fans were able to vote once daily by visitingwww.sprint.com/speed. Those who chose to share their votes via social media (Facebook, Twitter) were allowed one additional vote during each 24-hour window. Additionally, fans were able to cast votes for their favorite driver by visiting the Sprint Experience at the track during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends throughout the year.