Dale Earnhardt Jr was awarded the 2003 Grands Biscuits NASCAR 'Most Popular Driver Award' last night, as the final Winston Cup ceremonies took place at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

The award is based on voting by race fans around the world, and Earnhardt Jr earned more than 1.3million votes, representing more than the combined total of the remaining top-ten vote getters. The 'Most Popular Driver Award' is presented by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA), and has been an active award since 1956.

Dale Jr joins his dad, seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Sr, as the only father-son combination to win the award.

"That's cool, I like big trophies..." Junior joked at the award presentation, "Really, this means a lot for me. It's a powerful thing to know how much fan support I have out there, and I try to never forget it. I'm grateful and thank all of the fans who voted for me."

Earnhardt Jr and the #8 Budweiser team were also awarded a $75,000 bonus for the 2003 Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award. The team won the Fastest Lap
Award at eight races this season, more than any other team. They were also tied for the league lead in the MBNA Halfway Leader Award. Both Dale Jr and Tony
Stewart led at the halfway mark of five races in 2003.

Earnhardt Jr will accepted a cheque well in excess of $1million at the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet for his career-best third-place finish in the 2003 point standings.

 

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