Dale Earnhardt Jr. Wins 2011 NASCAR All-Star Race Fan Vote

In perhaps the least surprising NASCAR All-Star Race fan vote ever, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the winner of the Sprint fan vote shortly after Saturday night's Sprint Showdown.

After finishing sixth, Earnhardt Jr. talked to crew chief Steve Letarte and returned to his hauler, where he received the official word he was the winner.

And believe it or not, Earnhardt Jr. said he wasn't totally sure he would win the thing.

"Generally, whenever you have a contest, until they announce the winner there are no guarantees," he said. "I see it a whole lot different, I think, from this side of the fence. I just didn't take it for granted.

"I knew my fans were working really hard and they've done such a great job over the last several years of locking up the most popular driver award. All the credit goes to them; they did all the work and support us so much."

Earnhardt Jr. said he got online to monitor the "hard work" and effort his fans were doing in advance of the fan vote and said the backing of his fans was motivation to perform well.

"They really believe in what we're trying to accomplish," he said. "It makes (you want to go) out there and (work) harder and harder to try to get where you want to be and be more successful and be a better competitor when you've got that many people behind you."

Does he have anything for his All-Star competitors tonight?

"I think we made it better (in the Showdown)," he said. "The speed is there. My biggest problem going into this race is we don't have any speed in the first four laps for some reason. I just don't like the way the car feels on sticker tires."

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