The tires have gone cold and the drivers have hung up their fire suits and helmets for another season. Now it is time to celebrate.
NASCAR has named the season champions but it is the fans who determine which driver they deem as the most popular. And this year the winner carries a very familiar name.
When he was driving NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott was named the sport’s most popular driver for a record setting 16 years.
When Elliott retired the honour went to Dale Earnhardt Jr who lined the walls of his trophy room for 15 years with the award.
Now that Earnhardt has also retired, it is time for a new face to claim the title…and that face carries a very familiar name – Elliott.
On November 29 NASCAR presented the National Motorsports Press Association’s Most Popular Driver Award to Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott.
Winning the Most Popular Driver award as a Monster Energy Cup Series drivers was not the first time that Elliott has won such an award. He hs previously won the award as a driver in the Xfinity Series.
The 23 year old Elliott won his first Monster Cup race in August at Watkins Glen and went on to win two more races in the 2018 racing season and to make it into the first two rounds of the playoffs before being eliminated from the final four.
Elliott’s three wins also revived another tradition – that of blasting the siren atop the Dawsonville Pool Room in the Elliott’s home town of Dawsonville, Georgia.
In the Xfinity Series, retiring JR Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler took home the Most Popular Driver award.
In his 23 years as a driver, Sadler has run in a total of 853 races across the three racing series. In his final season, Sadler made it into the playoffs but was eliminated after the round of eight had 14 top five nd 24 top 10 finishes. This was the second time that Elliott has won the award.
In the Camping World Truck Series, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Noah Gragson received the honour as the sport’s Most Popular Driver.
Gragson made it all the way to the final four in his second season as a CWTS driver and finished second behind champion Brett Moffitt. Gragson had one CWTS win, eight top five’s and 17 top 10’s during the 2018 racing season.
Next season, the 20 year old driver will be taking over the JR Motorsports number car; replacing Elliott Sadler.