DARLINGTON, S.C. – Although it was a disappointing NASCAR Cup Series season for Chase Elliott, his fan support remains strong with the recognition of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Most Popular Driver.
The award, presented by Hooters, was announced Thursday night during the annual NASCAR awards banquet in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the sixth consecutive year Elliott has been voted the winner, and he has won the award in six of his eight seasons as a NASCAR Cup Series driver.
The only major NASCAR award determined solely by the vote of race fans, Elliott earned 104,534 votes. The newly-crowned NASCAR Cup Series champion, Ryan Blaney, was second to Elliott in the voting. Kyle Larson, Elliott’s teammate, was third.
“This award has always, in my eyes, a reflection and extension of my family’s place in the sport and I recognize my spot in line and recognize what they’ve done,” Elliott said. “The reason that it’s special is because of the fans and how supportive they have been to my entire family, myself included, our team, over the years. I’m grateful for that. I don’t take it lightly, ever. I know you said you weren’t stunned, but I still take it very seriously, and I’m grateful for what they do for us. They’ve been phenomenal. So, I appreciate that.”
A driver must have declared for NASCAR Cup Series points to be eligible for the award.
Elliott’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, holds the record for the most award wins at 16. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the award 15 times.
The Most Popular Driver award has been presented to either an Elliott or an Earnhardt for 33 consecutive years.
Elliott went winless in 2023 and failed to earn a berth in the playoffs, finishing 17th in the championship standings. It is the worst finish of Elliott’s Cup Series career. A snowboarding incident in the spring sidelined Elliott for six weeks while he recovered from surgery for a fractured left tibia. A one-race suspension from NASCAR for hooking Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600 made it a total of seven races Elliott missed during the year.
The NMPA Most Popular Driver Award is one of the longest-running awards presented annually by the National Motorsports Press Association.