After Dale Earnhardt Jr. becoming NASCAR’s Best Accepted Disciplinarian accolade the aftermost 15 years, maybe a new class will be created for 2018: Best Accepted Retired Disciplinarian Award.
He’d acceptable be a shoo-in.
But seriously, now that Earnhardt has won his aftermost MPD accolade as an alive driver, who succeeds him as the sport’s best accepted disciplinarian in 2018?
Obviously, his will be actual ample shoes to fill, but there’s a few indicators of who may be Earnhardt Jr.’s almsman in the contest, which has been in actuality back 1953.
Lost in the drag of the advertisement of this year’s accolade is that Earnhardt Jr. becoming aloof over two-thirds (68 percent) of the ballots casting by admirers — acceptation about one-third of the MPD votes went to added drivers.
After Earnhardt, Ryan Blaney was the No. 2 alternative for Best Accepted Driver, followed by Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, seven-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson, Danica Patrick and 2017 NASCAR Cup champ Martin Truex Jr.
Dale Jr. was asked in Las Vegas what his thoughts were about acceptable the accolade one aftermost time.
“It was a absolute account to acquire it again,” Earnhardt said. “I apperceive our admirers booty a ton of pride in voting for it and booty a ton of pride in us acceptable it. It’s array of a win for the accomplished fan base. It was nice to get an befalling to acknowledge the admirers for that.”
When he won his aboriginal MPD accolade in 2003, it’s acceptable no one – abnormally Earnhardt – could accept envisioned his acceptance in the action abound to the akin it has, with millions of associates of Junior Nation, not to acceptance acceptable the MPD 15 years in a row.
“When I started acceptable this award, it was all about the acceptance of the driver,” Earnhardt said. “As I’ve gotten older, I apprehend the accolade represents the sports accessibility.
“It’s what sets us afar from added sports, makes us altered and is article we booty seriously. I’ve abstruse over the years it’s not aloof a acceptance accolade or about one individual, but it’s absolutely about the absolute fan abject that acclaim not alone for that award, but acclaim for that disciplinarian anniversary in and anniversary out.
“The Myers Brothers Accolade and Bill France Award, those blazon of things are so claimed and absolutely dig in there and hit your feelings. It’s an absurd activity for addition to feel that you’re account that acknowledgment. I’m beholden the action feels that way and it makes you aggressive to abide to be an asset and represent the action able-bodied and advice it grow. It makes you appetite to acquire that recognition.”
Ok, so who would Junior vote for abutting division if he were to casting a ballot? Junior played it abutting to the vest, advertence aloof now-former Hendrick Motorsports assistant Chase Elliott as one attainable candidate. It was Chase’s father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, who won the Best Accepted Disciplinarian a almanac 16 times afore Junior would win it 15 times.
“I don’t know, I anticipate you adeptness be surprised,” Earnhardt said of who wins it abutting season. “I anticipate it’s activity to be a actual abutting battle. When I anticipate about that, the drivers that accept the befalling to win it, additionally accept the befalling over the abutting 12 months afore they get actuality to double, amateur and quadruple their fan bases with the assurance they can actualize and capitalize on throughout the season.
“Chase (Elliott) acutely has a abundant personality and a abundant ancestors history, abundant like I did. So that’s article he has activity for him.
“But he has a lot of guys that are accomplishing a lot of abundant things on amusing media and agreeable and interacting with the admirers in a lot of altered means that are activity to accomplish this a actual absorbing vote abutting year.
“I achievement that it’s as accepted by them and it’ll be fun to apprehend that driver, whoever he may be, try to clear his animosity about acceptable that award. But it’s added than aloof a acceptance of one guy. We acclaim our action as actuality the best attainable sport, and that’s what this bays and accolade represents, is that accessibility and agreeable with the fans. Whoever does that best over the abutting 12 months is the guy who’s activity to win because appropriate now it’s neck-and-neck.
“With me retiring, there’s a abundant befalling for a lot of these guys, the adolescent guys particularly, who are added amusing media savvy. There’s a abundant befalling for them to appoint fans, acquaint themselves to fans, but it absolutely comes bottomward to their relatability and the fan’s adeptness to feel like they’re the abutting aperture acquaintance or the guy they’re activity to accommodated at the bar or run into at the grocery store. Whoever that guy is for them, that’s who they’ll cull for.”
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