Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins Most Popular Driver Award for 13th year in a row

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LAS VEGAS – Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his 13th consecutive NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award Friday.

The award, based on a fan vote, was presented during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards at Wynn Las Vegas.

“I never take it for granted,” Earnhardt said, accepting the award on stage.

Then he quipped: “There was one time of the year I thought Matt Kenseth had it wrapped up,” referring to the fan reaction at Martinsville after Kenseth wrecked Joey Logano.

Earnhardt then said: “I’m humbled. This award is for Junior Nation.”

The last driver other than Earnhardt to win the honor from the National Motorsports Press Association was Bill Elliott in 2002. Elliott won a record 16 such titles from 1984-2002.

Elliott, Darrell Waltrip (1989-90), Dale Earnhardt (2001) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are the only drivers to have won the award since 1984. The award was first presented in 1953 and won by Lee Petty the first two years.