In an announcement shocking absolutely no one, Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured his 14th consecutive National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver award during Friday night’s NASCAR awards banquet in Las Vegas.
Earnhardt’s 14-year run as NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver is the longest streak since the award was first presented in 1953. Bill Elliott is the current all-time record holder with 16 MPD awards.
“That’s pretty cool,” Earnhardt said to open his acceptance speech.
Earnhardt said this year’s award was special because the fans stuck by him during a year in which we missed half the season with a concussion.
“This year was a difficult year for us and our team,” Earnhardt said. “You think you know just how incredible the NASCAR fans are and how supportive they are. You see them support the drivers through victories and through defeat. But when you go through recovery from an injury or maybe the loss of a loved one or something like that, you really get to the core of what’s great about our fan base.”
“I want to thank the fans for all the support and all the well-wishes,” he said. “It really motivated me to get healthy, and it also motivated me to come back.
“I’m looking forward to next year.”
Earnhardt’s 2016 season came to an end after the race at Kentucky Speedway in July; he earned five top fives, and six top 10’s in 18 starts with four runner-up finishes.
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