Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dale Earnhardt Wins 2009 Chex Most Popular Driver Award

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR

Through the 2009 tour, 3 of the 4 Hendrick Motorsport drivers have enjoyed the fruits of a fortunate NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Jeff Gordon winning in Texas, Mark Martin regaining his mojo with 5 Cup series victories, and finally Jimmie Johnson taking top honours for the 4th year in a row in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. With those three drive placing their Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets in the top three Sprint Cup points positions in the final seasons, the team's #88 car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr enjoyed little success through the 36 race schedule. Plagued by plain bad circumstances and an noisy chorus of critics through much of this season, the son of NASCAR's Man in Black has largely been the black sheep of Hendrick Motorsports.

While his struggles were all to present on the track, the fans of JR Nation were always behind their respected driver. During NASCAR Sprint Cup Champions Week in Las Vegas, the legion of Dale Earnhardt Jr supporters demonstrated their vote of confidence.

Proclaimed the winner at the NMPA (National Motorsport Press Association) luncheon on Thursday December 3rd, Earnhardt received the most votes in a year-round ballot polling the fans of NASCAR. The 2009 Chex Most Popular Driver Award honours represented a true test of Dale Earnhardt Jr fans with actually two votes required to seal the #88 driver's victory. With the first vote occurring between February 10 to September 13, the top 10 drivers from that vote transferred on to a new ballot which ran until the late November. In the end, Jr Nation has rallied around the 3rd generation stock driver in both votes allowing Earnhardt to top Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and Matt Kenseth for 2009 Nascar's Most Popular Driver.

His the 7th time in a row taking the Chex Most Popular Driver accolade, Dale Earnhardt Jr 2009 Award places him 4th all-time for total awards behind Bobby Allison with 8, Richard Petty holding 9, and fan favourite Bill Elliott who won 16 times.

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