NASCAR fan voting has begun for the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver Award presented by Hooters.
Fans can cast a vote for a single driver once daily at www.nascar.com/mostpopulardriver or on the NASCAR Mobile app. Votes shared by fans on Facebook and / or Twitter count double.
To be eligible, drivers must have declared series points and be in the top 32 in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points by the start of the voting, according to contest rules.
Balloting began today at noon ET and will continue through Dec. 4, at Noon ET. The winner will be announced the following day, Dec. 5, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards program. The announcement will be carried live on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Chase Elliott is the defending winner of the award, after Dale Earnhardt Jr. won from 2003-17. NASCAR Hall of Famer and 1988 Cup champion Bill Elliott remains the record holder, having been chosen Most Popular Driver 16 times (1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002) during his career.
“With all of its history, the success Dale Earnhardt Jr. has enjoyed and the success of the Elliott’s and Earnhardt’s (winning Most Popular Driver) for so many years is awesome,” Chase Elliott said when he won the award last year. “It’s kind of crazy to watch that come full circle. To be able to receive the award this year is special and I’ll certainly enjoy it.”
The Most Popular Driver award has been in existence since 1949. Curtis Turner was the first recipient, the first of 20 drivers who have won the award at least once since then. It remains the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote.
Sheldon Creed scored his first career Xfinity Series pole by taking the top spot for Saturday’s race at Portland International Raceway.
Creed, making his 50th career series start, earned the pole with a lap of 95.694 mph on the 1.97-mile road course.
Cole Custer will start second with a lap of 95.398 mph. He is followed by Josh Berry (94.242 mph), John Hunter Nemechek (95.127) and Charlotte winner Justin Allgaier (94.897). Road racing specialist Jordan Taylor, driving for Kaulig Racing, qualified sixth at 94.772 mph.
The green flag is scheduled to wave 4:46 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.
Twelve races remain until the playoffs begin in early September. Ten drivers have won races. The pressure to secure a playoff spot builds as the Cup Series heads into the summer months.
Details for Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway
(All times Eastern)
START: Six-time Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee will give the command to start engines at 3:32 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m.
PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:40 p.m. … Driver intros are at 2:55 p.m. … Tim Bounds, pastor at The Crossing Church St. Louis, will give the invocation at 3:24 p.m. … The national anthem will be performed by Bebe Winans and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at 3:25 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is 240 laps (300 miles) on the 1.25-mile track.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 45. Stage 2 ends at Lap 140.
STARTING LINEUP: Cup starting lineup
TV/RADIO: FS1 will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. … Motor Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.
STREAMING: Fox Sports
FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 90 degrees and a 15% chance of rain at the start of the race.
LAST YEAR: Joey Logano won the inaugural Cup race at this track. Kyle Busch was second. Kurt Busch placed third.
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Drivers to watch at World Wide Technology Raceway
Kyle Busch will lead the Cup starting lineup to the green flag in Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
Busch will be joined on the front row by Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney.
The second row will have Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. The third row has Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano.
Corey LaJoie, driving the No. 9 car in place of the suspended Chase Elliott, qualified 30th after hitting the wall on his lap.
The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m. ET Sunday on FS1.
Kyle Busch collected his first Cup pole of the season and will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Busch last won a Cup pole at Phoenix in November 2019. He earned his 33rd career Cup pole Saturday with a lap of 137.187 mph on the 1.25-mile speedway.
“Being able to get a pole here with Richard Childress Racing, Team Chevy and everybody on this No. 8 team is good for us and just try to get some momentum rolling,” Busch said. “Our short track stuff hasn’t been the greatest this year so far, but this isn’t the short track aero package here this weekend, so that might pay dividends hopefully for us to just have a better day than what we anticipated. Just excited to have the guys pumped up and raring to go, and knowing that their hard work is paying off.”
Busch will be joined on the front row by Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney, who qualified at 137.153 mph. Blaney’s car failed inspection twice before qualifying. He will lose his pit selection for Sunday’s race. His car chief also was ejected. Brad Keselowski‘s car also failed inspection twice before qualifying. He loses pit selection and had the team’s car chief ejected. Keselowski qualified 19th with a lap of 135.743 mph.
Denny Hamlin (136.903 mph) starts third and is followed by Kevin Harvick (136.766) and Martin Truex Jr. (136.360). Harvick has two top-five starts this season and both have come in the last two events.
“I think we have a little bit of work to do on our car in race trim, but a lot of it is just getting into a rhythm I think – more than anything,” Harvick said. “Qualifying, we were just a little bit tight through Turns 1 and 2, and the car was good in 3 and 4. So, we have to have a better balance, and that’s what probably cost us a little bit of speed to get the pole. But, still a good day and a good starting spot.”
Corey LaJoie, subbing for the suspended Chase Elliott, will start 30th after hitting the wall on his qualifying lap. He qualified at 134.561 mph. Carson Hocevar, making in his Cup debut in LaJoie’s car, qualified 26th with a lap of 135.220 mph.
Green flag for Sunday’s race is scheduled to wave at 3:42 p.m. ET on FS1.