Dale Earnhardt Jr Picks up his 15th Most Popular Driver Award

by SM Staff On Tue, Dec. 05, 2017

Photo Credit: Simon Scoggins

Charismatic, driven, hard-working and a true fan favourite, Dale Earnhardt Jr is no stranger to the limelight. Having picked up 14 Most Popular Driver Awards already, Earnhardt topped off his career with yet another win at the NASCAR Cup Series Awards held in Las Vegas.

In his acceptance speech, Earnhardt thanked the fans most of all. He said that without the fans, none of the opportunities he had would have happened in the first place. It all comes back to the fans he said. Having recently retired from full-time racing, Earnhardt falls one short of Bill Elliott’s famous record for 16 Most Popular Driver Awards.

Earnhardt first came to the attention of NASCAR fans back in 1999 when he made his first career Cup Series start at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Since that first start, the North Carolina native has racked up a total of 26 Cup series wins including six wins at Talladega and four at Daytona. To add to this impressive resume, he has also won 24 Xfinity Series wins with impressive back-to-back title wins in the second-tier series.

During a rather emotional press conference earlier in the year, Junior spoke about his retirement from full time racing. He said he still plans to be involved in NASCAR in the future and will be doing one or two races in the 2018 Xfinity Series. As it turns out, he didn’t have to wait long for his first job offer for 2018.

Earnhardt to Grand Marshal the 2018 Daytona 500

It could be due to his popularity or the fact that he has put many a punter in profit with sports betting NZ, but the newly crowned most popular driver will be returning to the track to serve as grand marshal for the season-opening Daytona 500. Announced just last week, Earnhardt will be fulfilling the duties at the Daytona International Speedway to kick off the 2018 season.

Speaking to the press, Earnhardt said he was humbled when he was asked if he wanted the job. Earnhardt went on to explain that for him, the race has so much history and being a two-time winner at Daytona is an achievement he is very proud of. Dale said that he is honoured to be adding his name to the list of people who have come before him to be grand marshal for the race. He ended off by saying that Speedweeks in such an exciting time for NASCAR and this would give him the ideal opportunity to witness the thrills that it has to offer first hand.

It is no exaggeration to say that Dale has a history with Daytona, one of the world’s most popular racing events. Earnhardt has won a total of 17 races at the Daytona International Speedway including the famous Daytona 500 back in 2004 and more recently in 2014. Having finished up his final full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, he will be back on the track on the 18th of February 2018 (Presidents day weekend). Dale will have the privilege of giving the command for the drivers to start their engines for the 60th running of this incredible race.

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