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NASCAR Cup: Dale Earnhardt Jr. named Most Popular Driver, receives Bill France Award for Excellence

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wife, Amy, arrive at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards at Wynn Las Vegas on Nov. 30, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wife, Amy, arrive at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards at Wynn Las Vegas on Nov. 30, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

During the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards banquet at The Wynn Las Vegas on Thursday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was announced as the Cup Series’ Most Popular Driver for 2017.

The 2017 honor is the 15th Most Popular Driver award for Earnhardt in the Cup Series, bringing his tally to one shy of all-time Cup Series Most Popular Driver Award winner Bill Elliott.

“I’ve got to thank the fans,” Earnhardt said. “Without them, none of the opportunities I’ve had in racing would’ve happened.”

While Elliott has one more Most Popular Driver award, Earnhardt’s 2017 honor extends his record of most consecutive Most Popular awards, as he’s won the award each year since 2003.

Earnhardt also was presented the Bill France Award of Excellence by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

The 2017 season was Earnhardt’s last of full-time competition as a driver in NASCAR’s top series. He is expected to drive for his JR Motorsports team in a few NASCAR Xfinity Series races in 2018, though, and he’ll remain a co-owner of JR Motorsports and embark on a broadcasting career with NBC Sports during the second half of next season.

Earnhardt posted a top-five finish in 2017 — a fifth-place showing in the first race at Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth. He also notched eight top-10 finishes and two poles and was 21st in the standings at the end of the season. In all, Earnhardt has 26 wins, 149 top-fives and 260 top-10s in 631-career starts. He began competing full-time in the series in 2000 after running a partial schedule of five races in 1999.

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Posted by on December 1, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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