Harvick Named 2018 Richard Petty Driver of the Year Winner
DARLINGTON, S.C. –Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, has been named the recipient of the Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award for 2018 by the National Motorsports Press Association.
Harvick was named on 44% percent of the votes cast by the NMPA membership. The award was presented Saturday, Jan. 26 as part of the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony held in Charlotte, N.C.
The 43-year-old native of Bakersfield, Calif. won a career-best eight races this past season, all on superspeedways. His final victory of the season came at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on Nov, 4, 2018. Harvick ended his 17th season third in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points behind champion Joey Logano and second-place Martin Truex Jr.
Harvick also logged 23 top-fives, 29 top-10s and four pole positions throughout the 2018 Cup season.
The Richard Petty Driver of the Year award has been presented annually since 1969 to recognize the season’s most outstanding driver. It is named in honor of the seven-time NASCAR premier series champion.
Harvick is the 50th driver to receive the Driver of the Year honors. Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson is a seven-time recipient of the award.
Chase Elliott Wins 2018 NMPA Most Popular Driver Award presented by Hooters
DARLINGTON, S.C.–Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, has been named 2018 National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver presented by Hooters. The award is the first of his four-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
Elliott’s selection was announced Thursday during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards program at the Wynn Las Vegas.
The 23-year old native of Dawsonville, Ga. was named through 46 percent of the votes cast by fans. His father, 1988 Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, has won the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award 16 times between 1984 and 2002.
The young rising star won Monster Energy races in 2018 at Watkins Glen, N.Y., Dover, DE. and Kansas City, KS and finished sixth in Monster Energy Cup series points.
“I'm so honored to win this award," Elliott said. "With all of its history, the success Dale Earnhardt Jr. has enjoyed and the success of the Elliott's and Earnhardt's (winning Most Popular Driver) for so many years is awesome. It's kind of crazy to watch that come full circle. To be able to receive the award this year is special and I'll certainly enjoy it."
"Performance on track and wanting to do well is my biggest hope. I just want to make all of the people proud that voted for us all year. Those are the things that mean so much to me."
Completing the top-five in this year’s voting were Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Racing Ford and Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
The Most Popular Driver Award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote. It has been presented annually since 1953; the recipients were originally determined by a poll of competitors. It became a fan-driven program in 1984 under the guidance of the NMPA.
In addition to hosting the voting platform for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series MPD award, fan votes to determine the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series were also hosted on NASCAR.com.
Elliott Sadler won the NASCAR XFINITY Series MPD award while Noah Gragson was voted Camping World Truck Series Most Popular driver. Sadler and Gragson will be honored Dec. 9 during NASCAR Champions Week in Charlotte.
Jim France Named 2018 Myers Brothers Recipient
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Jim France, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NASCAR and CEO of International Speedway Corporation, has been named recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Myers Brothers Award for 2018.
The award, named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, was presented Nov. 27th during the annual Myers Brothers Awards program held at the Encore Theater of the Wynn Las Vegas.
In 1959 at the age of 14, the youngest son of NASCAR co-founder William Henry Getty France began working for his father at ISC. Jim’s career began through selling race programs, tickets and concession at Daytona International Speedway. In the years that followed, he worked in various roles with many ISC tracks before being named president of International Speedway Corporation in 1987.
Upon the death of France Sr. in June of 1992, Jim and his brother Bill France Jr. inherited control of both NASCAR and ISC. Jim has also served as secretary of the board of directors of NASCAR and an advisor when his brother was president, CEO and chairman of the board of NASCAR before his retirement 2004.
In 1999, Jim founded the Grand American Road Racing Association, a sanctioning body for the Rolex Sports Car Series and sponsor of the 24 Hours of Daytona. He also oversaw the Koni Challenge Series two-class touring car league and the SunTrust Moto-ST Series featuring endurance racing motorcycles. The ARRA also operates the North American arm of the international Ferrari Challenge.
When Brian France became chairman of NASCAR in 2003, Jim served as an advisor to his nephew, more so after the death of France Jr. in 2007. In August of 2018, Jim assumed the role of Chairman and CEO of NASCAR when Brian France took an indefinite leave of absence.
For nearly 60 years, Jim has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring NASCAR to international prominence through strong leadership and passion for the sport of auto racing.
France was shocked and surprised that he was being given the award.
“Thank you to the NMPA,” France said. “In the summer between 1950 and 1951, I grew up in the pits at Bowman Gray Stadium with Billy and Bobby racing there every weekend. At 11 years old, Billy Myers was my favorite driver and he carried the number 4 on the sides of his race car so that became my favorite number. To receive this honor in their names is very special.
“I’ve had the opportunity the last part of this season to spend a lot of time again in the garage area and the pits of our racing series. To pass on an observation, from the 1950’s pits at Bowman Gray Stadium to the Monster Energy Series pits of 2018, the NASCAR spirit and the competitive spirit of the drivers and teams is alive and well and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The Myers Brothers Award is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership. It recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing and has been presented annually since 1958.
Bruce Tabbed for NMPA Joe Littlejohn Honor
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Kenny Bruce, a longtime journalist and past officer of the National Motorsports Press Association, has been named the recipient of the Joe Littlejohn Award for 2018.
Aside from hosting his own motorsports website, Kenny Bruce.net, the longtime veteran of auto racing writes for various other online and print publications. In additional to his five-year tenure as motorsports writer with NASCAR.com, Bruce also served in the same capacity with NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated.
As a member of the NMPA, Bruce previously served as the organization’s president as well as the organization’s board of directors.
The three-time National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year was presented the award Saturday, Jan. 26 during the organization’s annual convention and awards ceremony held in Charlotte, N.C.
The award is named after the former track owner from Spartanburg, S.C., and is presented annually by the NMPA in recognition for outstanding service to the NMPA.
Littlejohn is credited with organizing the NMPA and is a member of its Hall of Fame.
Ken Patterson Helping Others Award to Branham
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Russell Branham, director of public relations and consumer marketing for Talladega Superspeedway, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award.
Branham has also served as vice president of HB&M Sports from 2000 to 2013 and also served as business manager for former NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. From 1989 to 1999, he worked as public relations manager for Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
The Ken Patterson Award is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership and is sponsored by Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The award has been presented annually since 2004 and is named in honor of Patterson, the former public relations director at Talladega. It recognizes public relations officials in the motorsports industry (team, track and sanctioning body) who have exhibited the kind, generous qualities always demonstrated by Patterson.
Branham was announced as the 2018 recipient during the NMPA’s annual convention Saturday, Jan. 26 in Charlotte, N.C.
Talladega Superspeedway will donate $1,000 in Branham’s name to the Kenneth Patterson Educational Trust Fund.
Others receiving votes for this year’s award were Amy Walsh, Shari Spiewak, Kyle Zimmerman and Andrew Booth.
Krissie Newman, Rescue Ranch Recipients of NMPA Pocono Spirit Award
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Krissie Newman, wife of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, has been selected as the overall recipient of the 2018 National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award.
Newman received the fourth quarter award for her organization’s work rescuing animals from devastation of Hurricane Florence that struck the Carolinas in September of 2018.
Rescue Ranch, a non-profit organization, was formed in October 2014 by Ryan and Krissie Newman. Its mission is to promote, through education, respect for all animals, as well as, agricultural, environmental, and wildlife conservation and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership.
The award given was accepted by Ryan Newman on his wife’s behalf on Saturday, January 26 during the organization’s annual convention and awards ceremony held in Charlotte, N.C.
"On behalf of my wife Krissie and the Krissie Newman Rescue Ranch, I'm honored to accept the NMPA Pocono Spirit Award for 2018," said Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the NASCAR Monster Cup Series. "There are a lot of people behind the scenes that work hard to rescue animals from difficult or devastating situations. Animals are our passion, as is the case with so many people. To be recognized for that work is very special."
The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.
The membership of the NMPA selects quarterly recipients as well as an overall winner each year. The award is sponsored by Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and has been presented annually since 1992.
Quarterly nominees throughout 2018 were; Evernham Family Racing for a Reason, The Kevin Harvick Foundation and The Starkey Hearing Foundation.