Earnhardt Jr. most popular a 10th straight time

Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012

For the 10th consecutive season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the winner of the National Motorsports Press Association's Most Popular Driver award.

Earnhardt received the award during a ceremony Thursday in Las Vegas. Earnhardt's 10-straight wins ties the record held by former driver Bill Elliott. Elliott won the award a record 16 times overall.

"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."

After fans voted from February to September, the top 10 drivers that earned the most votes were reset to zero for the final 10 races of the season.

Jeff Gordon received the second-highest number of votes, followed by Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Bobby Labonte.

Earnhardt, Richard Petty and Elliott are the only drivers to win the award at least five consecutive seasons.

Gordon recognized: Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon was named recipient of the NMPA's Myers Brothers Award, which recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

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