Record balloting decides most popular NASCAR drivers
11/27/2012 11:54:45 AMRacing fans made their selections for the Most Popular Driver Awards in each of the NASCAR touring series with four of the seven winners racing with rookie designation this season.
The Most Popular Driver Award winners for 2012 are:
• Chase Elliott, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
• Cassie Gannis, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
• Ray Courtemanche Jr., NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1
• Pepe Montaño, NASCAR Toyota Series
• Freddy Nordstrom, Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series
• Ryan Preece, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
• Danny Bohn, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
Nearly 210,000 votes were cast in the balloting, which opened in mid-August and ended on Sunday, Nov. 18. The total surpassed last year's record of over 136,000 votes cast by 54 percent. This season's record number is more than four times the 50,743 votes in 2008, the first year the Most Popular Driver voting was conducted online. For the second straight year voters were able to see the results as they voted.
"These numbers demonstrate how the fan base of NASCAR's touring series continues to grow," said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. "Several drivers across the board engaged fans through various forms of social media which has taken this award to a new level."
Elliott, son of 16-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Most Popular Driver Bill Elliott, was the only repeat winner from a year ago. The 16-year-old, second-generation driver from Dawsonville, Ga., collected 56 percent of the votes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East while finishing fourth in the final driver standings.
Gannis, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz., garnered 42 percent of the vote while competing as a rookie in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
The newest member of NASCAR's touring series – Euro-Racecar NASCAR Touring Series – led the way in total votes while London's Freddy Nordstrom established a new record for votes cast for a single driver with nearly 58,000. He finished ninth in the standings for the European circuit.
Balloting in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 was close throughout the voting period with rookie Ray Courtemanche Jr., from Montreal, Quebec, getting the nod.
Pepe Montaño led the way in Mexico's NASCAR Toyota Series with 48 percent of the vote. The Hidalgo, Mexico driver picked up where three-time Most Popular Driver Jorge Arteaga left off after leaving the series to concentrate on racing in the United States.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Danny Bohn of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour added another award to his list. The Freehold, N.J., driver collected over 10,000 votes as the tour's runner-up in the final point standings.
The second-place driver also collected the honors in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour as Ryan Preece from Berlin, Conn., won the tightest race over veteran Mike Stefanik.
The Most Popular Driver Award winners will be recognized at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center's Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.