Thursday, December 2, 2010

NASCAR Sprint Cup Fans Vote Dale Earnhardt Jr Most Popular Driver

Photo Credit: Jason Smith/ Getty Images for NASCAR

It appears that streaks are becoming common place within the Hendrick Motorsports stable. First with the #48 Lowes Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson storming to a 5th straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, the #88 Chevrolet team has reason to leave 2010 with some sense of fulfilment. At the annual National Motorsports Press Association’s (NMPA) Myers Brothers Luncheon held prior to the NASCAR Awards Banquet, Dale Earnhardt Jr was named the 2010 winner of the Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award.

Though the #88 driver finished the season in 21st in the overall standings with only 8 top-10 finishes to show for efforts of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Dale Earnhardt Jr along with the team of the #88 AMP Energy and National Guard Chevrolet did persevere through a difficult 36-race stretch to finish each and every race. Though some have doubted Earnhardt Jr's future in Hendrick Motorsports and even the sport in general, a majority of fans have demonstrated the third-generation driver is still their favourite competitor in the premier stock car tour in North America.  “I’ve enjoyed winning it – my fan base has stayed strong. It’s become an important honor each year for me. I’m glad that fans still feel their support for me. I appreciate their dedication and loyalty.” Earnhardt Jr commented accepting the award Thursday afternoon.

With more than 1.5 million fans voting in this year's Hamburger Helper Most Popular Driver Award, Earnhardt Jr beat out the likes of Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards for the 2010 honour. One honourable mention making it into the top-10 of Most Popular Driver voting was the 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte.

Scoring his 8th Most Popular Driver Award in a row, Dale Earnhardt Jr is only two shy of a benchmark set by two-time Daytona 500 winner and 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott. Enjoying a steady and dedicated fanbase just like Earnhardt Jr's, Elliott was voted most popular 10 times in a row concluding with 16 overall honours.

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