NASCAR hands out awards at Meyers Brothers Luncheon
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has set a record with his 11th consecutive win as NASCAR's most popular driver.
Earnhardt was presented with the NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday in Las Vegas. His win broke a tie with 16-time winner Bill Elliott for the most consecutive years as winner.
Earnhardt thanked his loyal fan base, which continuously votes him tops in the Sprint Cup Series. More than 1 million votes were cast for 39 drivers. Fans voted once per day with Earnhardt collecting more than 700,000 votes.
Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt's teammates at Hendrick Motorsports, finished second and third in voting. Fourth went to Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick was fifth.
Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart has won the 2013 Myers Brothers Award for contributions to the sport in his role as owner of Eldora Speedway.
The award from the National Motorsports Press Association is kept secret, so Stewart thought he was at Thursday's ceremony only to support his Stewart-Haas Racing teams.
Instead, he was called to the stage to accept the award for bringing a national NASCAR race to the dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio, for the first time in 43 years. Eldora hosted the Truck Series in July.
Stewart walked to the stage without the use of a cane, but needed assistance climbing the stairs. He missed the final 15 weeks of the season with a broken leg, but says he will be ready for the Daytona 500.
Winning rookie of the year honors required Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to beat his girlfriend on the track.
At least twice, the on-track battles between Stenhouse and Danica Patrick led to wrecks.
Stenhouse acknowledged Thursday that competing against his girlfriend wasn't always easy - and joked that he learned quickly to always accept blame.
The two-time Nationwide Series champion finished 19th in the Sprint Cup standings. Patrick finished 27th and came to Las Vegas to support Stenhouse as he accepted his award.
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