NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott has added more hardware to his 2020 collection, garnering the circuit’s Most Popular Driver Award from the National Motorsports Press Association for the third consecutive year.
Elliott was announced as the award’s winner during Wednesday’s 2020 NASCAR Awards Show, a year-end celebration produced after COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancelation of Champion’s Week festivities in Nashville. Elliott was also feted as the winner of his first Cup Series championship in the 90-minute special.
Elliott topped the balloting, which was based completely on voting by fans and was open from Sept. 6 to Nov. 9. It marked his fifth Most Popular Driver honor, adding to the two awards he claimed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2014-15.
Elliott’s recognition added to a long family history with the award. NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, his father, won Most Popular Driver a record 16 times nonconsecutively during a span that began in 1984 and ended in 2002. That’s one more than Dale Earnhardt Jr., who claimed the award for 15 straight years until his retirement from full-time driving in 2017.
— Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) November 19, 2020
Elliott scored a career-best five victories this year, which marked his fifth full season in NASCAR’s top division. His last two wins came on consecutive weekends in clutch situations, prevailing at Martinsville Speedway at the end of the postseason’s Round of 8, then making good on his title-round berth with a championship-clinching triumph in the Phoenix Raceway finale on Nov. 8.
The NMPA Most Popular Driver Award was presented to a Hendrick Motorsports driver for the 13th straight year, with Elliott’s three coming on the heels of Earnhardt’s 10 with the same organization.