The NASCAR Awards Show aired on Wednesday night, sure, it wasn’t the standard full-on banquet we’ve been accustomed to celebrating the NASCAR Cup Series champion with over the years, but during a pandemic, the television offering on NBCSN was a decent compromise.
During the show, three awards were handed out to the Most Popular Driver in each of the NASCAR National Series. No surprise, the NASCAR Cup Series Most Popular Driver Award went to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott.
Elliott recorded a career-high five wins this season en route to his first-career NCS championship.
This marks Elliott’s third-consecutive Most Popular Driver Award, and he is the first champion of the sport to win the award during their title season since his father did so in 1988. When you tally up the Most Popular Driver Awards that have been won between Elliott and his father Bill Elliott, you have a bonkers 19 awards between the two.
Elliott capturing the award again keeps a streak alive that has been going since 1984, where either an Earnhardt or an Elliott has won the award each year.
Another interesting stat from Elliott’s award is that this is the 18th-consecutive MPD Award won in the Cup Series by a Team Chevy driver.
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series it was Justin Allgaier who took home the title of Most Popular. Allgaier snagged three wins this season and finished a career-best second in the year-end championship standings.
This is Allgaier’s second-consecutive Most Popular Driver Award in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and it continues a recurring theme of JR Motorsports drivers being very popular in the NXS ranks. This marks the 11th time in the last 13 seasons that a JR Motorsports driver has been named MPD.
In 2021 Allgaier will have an opportunity to become just the third driver in NXS history to win three consecutive Most Popular Driver Awards.
In the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series it was rookie Zane Smith who took home the hardware as the most popular driver. Smith had an incredible rookie campaign, winning two races and finishing runner-up in the point standings.
Smith, who will return to the Truck Series in 2021, will be the first driver to return to the series after winning the MPD Award since John Hunter Nemechek returned in 2016 after winning the award in 2015.
Incredibly, Smith is the first-ever GMS Racing driver to win the award. If Smith can take home the MPD Award again in 2021, he will be the second driver in Series history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
Combined Stats Between the Three Award Winners
- Team Chevy drivers swept all three most popular driver awards for the second consecutive season.
- All three drivers who won Most Popular Driver in 2020 have driven for JR Motorsports in the past.
- Interestingly, all three drivers have ARCA Menards Series wins at Pocono Raceway.
- All three MPDs had career-high totals in laps led in their respective series in 2020.
- For fans of Brock Beard’s LASTCAR, none of the Most Popular Drivers for 2020 finished last in any races in 2020.
- All three Most Popular Drivers finished inside the top-two in the championship standings in their series.
- All three drivers also led laps in the season finale in their series.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.