NASCAR announced the news on November 8. From now until noon Eastern on November 30, fans can vote one time each day for their favorite driver in the Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series. They can log their votes on the NASCAR site or on the NASCAR mobile app.
In order to be eligible, the drivers must have declared for points in their respective seasons, and they must have been eligible to compete in the series championships. This means that Parker Kligerman will not be eligible for the Truck Series vote since he only ran a part-time schedule. Though he will be eligible for the Xfinity Series ballot in 2023.
The Prestigious Award First Existed in 1949
NASCAR’s inaugural season was in 1949 when Red Byron won the championship after capturing two of the eight races. Meanwhile, Langhorne Speedway winner Curtis Turner walked away with the first-ever Most Popular Driver Award.
Since 1983, the National Motorsports Press Association has been the presenting sponsor of the Most Popular Driver Award. 20 drivers have received the award with Hall of Famer Bill Elliott leading the way with his record 16 wins (1984-88, 1991-2000, and 2002). Dale Earnhardt Jr. is second with his 15 wins (2003-2017).
Another member of the Elliott family is en route to setting a mark of his own. Chase Elliott, the 2020 Cup Series champion, has won Most Popular Driver four consecutive seasons. He took up the mantle from Earnhardt in 2018, and he has not been challenged by any other Cup Series driver.
2 Other NASCAR Series Remain a Question
While Elliott and Earnhardt have combined to win the past 19 Most Popular Driver Awards, there have been some changes in the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.
The Xfinity Series has featured multiple award winners. For example, Brad Keselowski captured Most Popular Driver in 2008-2010 while Elliott Sadler won in 2011 and 2016-2018. Elliott went back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 while Danica Patrick won in 2012.
Justin Allgaier has been one of the biggest names in the Xfinity Series since Sadler retired. The JR Motorsports driver has won the award for three consecutive seasons (2019-2021) while contending for wins and championships. He could win his fourth straight in 2022, but he will likely face competition from teammate Noah Gragson.
The Truck Series, for comparison, has not featured a repeat winner since the 2008 season when Johnny Benson Jr. won his third straight. There have been several drivers that have captured the trophy, such as Ryan Blaney, Ricky Carmichael, Austin Dillon, Narain Karthikeyan, Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek, and Ross Chastain.
Hailie Deegan, who has made history multiple times during her two full-time Truck Series seasons, is the reigning Most Popular Driver. She captured the award for the first time in 2021 while driving for David Gilliland Racing. Now she will have an opportunity to win her second straight after a season that has featured two top-10 finishes.