Dale Earnhardt Jr. won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award for the 15th straight season on Thursday, making him the second-most popular driver in history. Bill Elliott holds the record with 16 MPD awards, while his son Chase Elliott has already emerged as an early front-runner for next season.
The voting process was done by the fans with Earnhardt earning 68 percent of the votes. Dale Jr.'s selection was announced at Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards ceremony in Las Vegas on Thursday. Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Danica Patrick and Martin Truex Jr. all finished in the top 10 in voting.
Junior, who spent his career behind the wheel of the No. 8 and No. 88 cars, also won the Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award and the Bill France Award Of Excellence.and girlfriend Sherry Pollex took home the Myers Brothers award from outstanding contributions on and off the track. Pollex, a cancer survivor, is a strong advocate for ovarian cancer research and donations.
Erik Jones took home Rookie of the Year honors, making him the first driver in NASCAR history to win the award in the Truck, XFINITY and Cup Series.
As for Junior, he's headed to the broadcast booth to call NASCAR races next season. He will also serve as the Grand Marshall and give the command for drivers to start their engines at the 2018 Daytona 500.
Here's the full list of awards winners:
· Most Popular Driver Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
· Bill France Award Of Excellence: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
· NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Martin Truex Jr. and Sherry Pollex
· Buddy Shuman Award: Bruton Smith
· NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: FOX Sports and NBC Sports
· Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
· American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Martin Truex Jr.
· Coors Light Pole Award: Kyle Busch
· Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Award: Martin Truex Jr.
· Ingersoll Rand Power Move Award: Ryan Newman
· MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Toyota Racing Development
· Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team
· Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kyle Larson
· Crew Chief of the Year Award: Tony Gibson, No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
· Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Kyle Busch
· Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Martin Truex Jr.
· Champion of the Year: Chip Ganassi Racing Pit Crew Department
· Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Erik Jones
· Champion Crew Chief Award: Cole Pearn