Truex Jr. Named Richard Petty Driver of the Year Winner
DARLINGTON, S.C. –Martin Truex Jr., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, has been named the recipient of the Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award for 2017 by the National Motorsports Press Association.
Truex, driver of the No. 78 Toyota for Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing, was named on 96 percent of the votes cast by the NMPA membership.
The award was presented Jan. 20 as part of the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony held in Charlotte, N.C.
The 37-year-old, a native of Mayetta, N.J., won a career-best eight races this past season. His victory in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway clinched the series championship.
Seven of his eight victories came on 1.5-mile venues; Truex also scored one win at Watkins Glen International, one of two annual road-course stops for the series.
2017 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car champion Donny Schatz was named on four percent of the ballots. Schatz won 20 races for the fifth consecutive year and captured his ninth series title.
The Richard Petty Driver of the Year award has been presented annually since 1969 to recognize the season’s most outstanding driver. It is named in honor of the seven-time NASCAR premier series champion.
Truex is the 26th driver to receive the Driver of the Year honors. Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson is a seven-time recipient of the award.
Earnhardt Jr. Ends Racing Career With 15th Consecutive MPD Award
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr., who retired from full-time competition in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the conclusion of the 2017 season, has been named the National Motorsports Press Association Most Popular Driver for the 15th consecutive time.
Earnhardt’s selection was announced Thursday during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards program at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Earnhardt, 43, was named on nearly 68 percent of the votes cast by fans.
The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt is one of eight drivers to receive the award on multiple occasions. Only one other driver, Bill Elliott, has won the award more often – Elliott was named the series’ most popular driver 16 times between 1984 and 2002.
Completing the top 10 in this year’s voting were (listed alphabetically): Ryan Blaney (Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford), Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota), Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet); Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet), Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota), Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet), Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 Ford) and Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota).
The Most Popular Driver Award is the only major NASCAR award determined solely by fan vote. It has been presented annually since 1953; the recipients were originally determined by a poll of competitors. It became a fan-driven program in 1984 under the guidance of the NMPA.
Thirty-three drivers received votes for this year’s award.
In addition to hosting the voting platform for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series MPD award, fan votes to determine the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series were also hosted on NASCAR.com.
Elliott Sadler, who finished second in the XFINITY Series championship battle won the NASCAR XFINITY Series MPD award; Sunoco Rookie of the Year Chase Briscoe was voted Camping World Truck Series MPD by fans.
Sadler and Briscoe will be honored Dec. 9 during NASCAR Champions Week in Charlotte.
Truex Jr., Pollex Named 2017 Myers Brothers Recipients
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Martin Truex Jr., the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex have been named recipients of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Myers Brothers Award for 2017.
The award, named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, was presented Nov. 29 during the annual Myers Brothers Awards program held at the Encore Theater of the Wynn Las Vegas.
Truex, driver of the No. 78 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing, and Pollex were honored not only for their continued charitable work revolving around childhood and ovarian cancer through the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, but for their many accomplishments in the face of adversity. The couple have displayed tremendous strength and concern for others while Pollex has fought her own personal battle with ovarian cancer.
This past year, they hosted the eighth annual Catwalk for a Cause, a charitable fashion show/benefit that raises funds and awareness while celebrating children and teenagers who have beaten or continue to fight cancer. The ’17 program raised more than $500,000.
In addition to their Catwalk program, the past two years have seen the couple launch the “Drive for Teal & Gold” campaign through the month of September to also raise funds and create awareness for ovarian and childhood cancers.
Pollex is the daughter of former NASCAR team owner Greg Pollex; Truex has competed fulltime in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for 12 seasons. His eight victories in 2017 was a career best for the 37-year-old and the series title was his first.
Truex was named on 82 percent of the ballots cast for this year’s award. Others receiving votes were Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team owner Jack Roush and seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
The Myers Brothers Award is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership. It recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing and has been presented annually since 1958.
Williams Tabbed for NMPA Joe Littlejohn Honor
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Deb Williams, a longtime journalist and officer of the National Motorsports Press Association, has been named the recipient of the Joe Littlejohn Award for 2017.
Williams is currently a senior writer for the website RacinToday.com and a regular contributor to espnW.com. Her career in journalism has spanned almost four decades. In addition to a six-year stint with United Press International, Williams is a former editor of NASCAR Winston Cup Scene, has worked as the director of public/media relations for Team Penske and is the author of five NASCAR-themed books, including “The Evolution of NASCAR” and “From Granite to Gold,” a history of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
As a member of the NMPA, Williams previously served as the organization’s secretary treasurer.
Williams was presented the award Jan. 21 during the organization’s annual convention and awards ceremony, held in Charlotte, N.C.
The award is named after the former track owner from Spartanburg, S.C., and is presented annually by the NMPA in recognition for outstanding service to the NMPA.
Littlejohn is credited with organizing the NMPA and is a member of its Hall of Fame.
Ken Patterson Helping Others Award to Rohlik
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Jessica Rohlik, former public relations representative for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award.
Rohlik worked with Kenseth, the 2003 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, and the No. 20 JGR team from 2013-17. She also worked with Kenseth in 2010-12 while both were at Roush Fenway Racing.
Prior to 2010 she handled public relations for driver Jamie McMurray (2009) at Roush Fenway and David Gilliland (2008) at Yates Racing.
The Ken Patterson Award is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership and is sponsored by Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The award has been presented annually since 2004 and is named in honor of Patterson, the former public relations director at Talladega. It recognizes public relations officials in the motorsports industry (team, track and sanctioning body) who have exhibited the kind, generous qualities always demonstrated by Patterson.
Rohlik was announced as the 2017 recipient during the NMPA’s annual convention Saturday, Jan. 20 in Charlotte, N.C.
Talladega Superspeedway will donate $1,000 in Rohlik’s name to the Kenneth Patterson Educational Trust Fund.
Others receiving votes for this year’s award were Kyle Zimmerman (Team Penske), Jessica Stroupe (Chevrolet Racing) and Lisa Hughes Kennedy (Toyota Racing).
Truex Jr., Pollex Recipients of NMPA Pocono Spirit Award
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. and partner Sherry Pollex have been selected as the overall recipients of the 2017 National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award.
Truex Jr., driver of the Denver, Colo.-based No. 78 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing, and Pollex launched the second annual “Drive for Teal & Gold” campaign to raise funds and awareness for ovarian and childhood cancers.
Twenty-nine fellow competitors participated in the campaign, which included the use of customized teal and gold steering wheels produced by Max Papis Innovations (MPI) as well as driving gloves. The autographed steering wheels and gloves were auctioned with proceeds going to support the “Drive for Team and Gold” program.
Truex and Pollex joined Sam Bass, The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America and Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation as quarterly recipients of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award.
Truex Jr. graciously accepted the trophy during the National Motorsports Press Association Awards banquet held in Charlotte, N.C. on January 20, 2017.
“All the stuff has surprised me. We just do what we do, honestly,” Truex said. “All these awards, it just gives you chills to think about all these people that have won these awards before, the company that we stand next to now. We go through life the way we think we should, we don’t try to do anything for notoriety we just do what we think is right. We live the way we think we should.
“To have people acknowledge that … is a humbling thing for us.”
The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.
The membership of the NMPA selects quarterly recipients as well as an overall winner each year. The award is sponsored by Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and has been presented annually since 1992.