Breaking into the top 10 of NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award is apparently harder than gaining 200,000 Twitter followers in one night.
Despite a surge in popularity from Brad Keselowski over the last year – and particularly since he gained Twitter fame and followers at the Daytona 500 – the driver didn't get enough votes to qualify for the top 10 in the 2012 Most Popular Driver voting.
In fact, no new driver has cracked the top 10 since Kyle Busch replaced Michael Waltrip in 2010.
For the third straight year, NASCAR's 10 most popular drivers are as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Kyle Busch
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Carl Edwards
- Jeff Gordon
- Kevin Harvick
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kasey Kahne
- Matt Kenseth
- Bobby Labonte
- Tony Stewart
If there's one name on that list that continues to be surprising, it's Labonte. According to the Most Popular Driver voting, Labonte is still more popular than drivers like Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and others – this despite the fact his last win was 2003.
Earnhardt Jr. is expected to win the Most Popular Driver Award for the 10th consecutive year, which would tie Bill Elliott's record (though Elliott had 16 overall).
The voting totals for the top 10 now reset to zero (like the Chase) for the final 10 weeks of the season. You can vote once per day for your favorite driver at MostPopularDriver.com.