Danica Patrick and Arie Luyendyk Jr. were honored as the 'Most Popular Driver' in the IRL IndyCar Series and Menards Infiniti Pro Serie, respectively, at the DownForce Banquet on October 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The awards were determined by the vote of the fans at all Indy Racing League events throughout the season. DownForce, the IRL's official fan club, facilitates the balloting.

It was the first Most Popular Driver Award for Patrick, who also captured the Bombardier Rookie of the Year Award in the IndyCar Series. Previous winners for the IndyCar Series include Sam Hornish Jr. (2004), Sarah Fisher (2001-2003), Al Unser Jr. (2000), Scott Goodyear (1999) and Arie Luyendyk (1997-1998).

"It has been quite a year," said Patrick, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to her upcoming wedding to Paul Hospenthal. "It means so much that (the fans) support me. I've been so blessed and I'm so grateful to have such great fans. It means a lot."

Luyendyk Jr. has won the award for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series in each of the three years it has been given. He told the crowd gathered that he was honored and surprised he won the award for a third time.