NASCAR’s most popular driver from 2003 through 2017 sat down with Chase Elliott – the driver most believe will pick up the mantle in 2018 – before the Brickyard 400 to discuss the unlikeliness of their popularity.
“I don’t think I fully understand it, but I certainly appreciate it,” Elliott told Earnhardt. “For me, I’ve always tried to do my own thing and stay in my little circle, so I think sometimes that keeps you from understanding what the outside public thinks. That’s my choice, and that’s how I like things.”
“I never understood my celebrity or my popularity,” Earnhardt replied. “None of it ever made any sense to me – and it might not ever make any sense to you.”
Popularity is something both drivers know well. Chase’s father Bill Elliott had a stranglehold on the honor from 1984 through 2002 – stepping aside only three times when Darrell Waltrip won in 1989 / 1990 and when Elliott removed his name from the ballot in 2001 to make way for Dale Earnhardt Sr. to win posthumously.
Being named most popular driver “would be a great honor to have,” Elliott said. “It’s not one of those things that I like to go and promote myself for. I don’t like to go out there and say, ‘hey vote for me.’ I want that to be a natural and genuine thing for somebody to go and vote.”
Fans can cast a vote for a single driver once a day at www.nascar.com/mostpopulardriver or on the NASCAR Mobile app. If fans share their vote on Facebook or Twitter, it will count double.
For more, watch the video above.