Earnhardt again named NASCAR's most popular driver

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been named NASCAR's most popular driver for the ninth consecutive year.

Earnhardt's string of most-popular-driver awards is only one shy of Bill Elliott's record 10 straight titles. Elliott won the award 16 times overall and won 10 straight from 1991 through 2000. He then asked to not be included any more in the voting.

Earnhardt thanked fans in accepting the award, and said he was glad they voted before the season finale at Homestead. If voting had been done based on that race, Earnhardt joked the award would have gone to NASCAR champion Tony Stewart based on the drive Stewart used to win the finale.

Earnhardt finished seventh in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship — his best showing in six years.

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