Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, has been named 2019 National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver presented by Hooters. The award is the second of his five-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
Elliott’s selection was announced Thursday during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards program at the Music City Center in Nashville.
The 24-year old native of Dawsonville, Ga. was named through 39 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 races in 2019 at Talladega, AL., Watkins Glen, N.Y. and Charlotte, N.C. and finished 10th in Monster Energy Cup Series points.
Completing the top-five in this year’s voting were 2019 Cup series champion Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the Leavine Family Racing Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota and Ryan Blaney, driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Racing Ford.
Elliott was excited to receive the award for the second year in a row and, once again, he gave the credit to the fans, saying the coolest thing is seeing their support by wearing No. 9 hats, shirts and other gear. For the humble driver him, the fans are more important than hardware.
“I’m honored to have two. Last year, I was honored to have one,” Elliott said. You try to learn things here and there. And as I have told several people, it is really more than a trophy or an award, it is about the people at the racetrack. Some of them are hear tonight and I really enjoy seeing them wear your hat or t-shirt.”
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.
Justin Allgaier won the NASCAR XFINITY Series MPD award while Ross Chastain was voted Camping World Truck Series Most Popular driver. Allgaier and Chastain were honored Nov. 22nd during NASCAR Champions Week in Charlotte.