Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Wins Fifth Consecutive NASCAR NMPA Chex® Most Popular Driver Award

MINNEAPOLIS (November 29, 2007) -- The final race has been run, and the checkered flag has fallen on the NASCAR racing season; but before it was all over, race fans answered the call to vote for their favorite driver. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was voted the 2007 NASCAR NMPA Chex® Most Popular Driver for the fifth consecutive year and was presented with the award today at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon in New York City.

"I'm extremely honored to win this award again, because it puts me with a very select group of drivers who I have a lot of respect for," Earnhardt, Jr. commented. "When I became a Cup driver in 1999, I never would've imagined that we'd be talking about five consecutive Most Popular Driver awards. I have a special place at JR Motorsports where I put the MPD trophies, so I'm honored to add another one to the collection.

"I don't want it to sound like a cliche, but this award really does mean a lot to me after all we have been through this year," continued Earnhardt, Jr.. "This year has marked a significant transition in my life and career, and I knew the fans could go either way in supporting my decision or not. It was tough, and I don't underestimate the fans' support. It's been overwhelming, and I really appreciate it."

Throughout the race season, race fans could log on to

www.mostpopulardriver.com once a day and vote for their favorite driver. Voting ended on November 19 at 11:59 pm CST. A total of 3.8 million votes were cast this year, with Earnhardt, Jr. receiving 1.4 million votes.

"General Mills is very proud to once again present Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with the NASCAR NMPA Chex® Most Popular Driver award," said Becky O'Grady, Vice President of Marketing for Chex® cereal. "Earnhardt, Jr. has a dedicated fan base that has supported him throughout his racing career, and each year it shows in the number of votes he receives as the most popular driver. We are honored to present this prestigious award to Dale Jr., thanks to his loyal fans."

After receiving the award this year, Earnhardt, Jr. has joined Richard Petty and Bill Elliott as the only drivers to win five straight awards. Petty won from 1974 -- 1978 and Elliott won from 1984 -- 1988.

Other drivers who finished in this year's top 10 include Jeff Gordon, who finished second in the voting, followed by Michael Waltrip, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett.

More than 50 Nextel Cup Series drivers were eligible in 2007 for the esteemed NASCAR NMPA Chex® Most Popular Driver Award, which is administered by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). It has been awarded annually since 1956 and is one of the oldest awards in racing.

-credit: nmpa