Voting has begun for the yearly NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) Most Popular Driver Award. Seeing that announcement made me wonder. . . . Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. a shoe-in for this award, yet again? I joked at the end of 2012 that this award should just be renamed the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Award. After all, it’s an award he’s won every year for the last 10 years.
But could Danica Patrick give Junior a run for his money in 2013, at least as far as popularity goes? A lot of die-hard NASCAR fans are critical of Patrick, pretty much shaying that she’s all flash and no substance as far as the racing thing goes, that she just gets attention for being sexy and her driving abilities aren’t worth the hype.
Patrick has broken records, already, in 2013 by becoming the first woman to claim a Sprint Cup pole, the first womant to lead a green-flag lap in the Daytona 500 and by posting the highest-ever finish for a woman in the Daytona 500.
That’s all impressive, but it’s not really the point here. We’re talking popularity, and that’s something she definitely has. Sure, she probably has about as many, if not more, haters than anyone in the sport, but does that really matter here. After all, those haters can’t cast negative votes to subtract from her tally in NASCAR’s popularity contest. Only positive votes count here.
Does Patrick have more fans than Earnhardt? Maybe. I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out at the end of the season when this year’s most popular driver is announced. You know, after 10 years, the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award may not be the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Award anymore. Time will tell, I guess.
Anyway, to vote, go to MostPopularDriver.com and vote early and vote often. Really, you can vote once a day for Earnhardt, Patrick or any other Sprint Cup driver of your choosing.