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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – There was a record turnout this year as fans made their selection for the Most Popular Driver Awards in each of the six NASCAR regional touring series.
The Most Popular Driver Award winners for 2011 are:
• Chase Elliott, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
• Moses Smith, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
• Jason White, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
• Jorge Arteaga, NASCAR Mexico Series presented by Toyota
• Justin Bonsignore, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
• Jason Myers, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
More than 136,000 votes were cast in the balloting, which opened in mid-July and ended on Monday. It was more than double the previous high of 50,743 in 2008, the first year the Most Popular Driver voting was conducted online. This marked the first year in which voters were able to see the totals after they voted.
“The growing fan base of NASCAR’s regional touring series is reflected in this year’s record voting for the Most Popular Driver Awards,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. “It’s great to have the fans directly involved in the selection process for this prestigious award.”
Elliott, son of 16-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Most Popular Driver Bill Elliott, led the way with a record vote total. The second-generation driver from Dawsonville, Ga., is coming off his rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – where he was the first 15-year-old to compete in the series.
Smith of Tempe, Ariz., coming off a career-best third-place finish in the championship standings, won his fourth consecutive Most Popular Driver title in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
Third in the balloting among the regional touring series was the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, where Myers took the Most Popular Driver Award. The Walnut Cove, N.C., driver is tied for the most career starts in the tour.
For Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y., his selection as this year’s Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour caps a season in which the 2010 Rookie of the Year scored his first career win.
The Most Popular Driver title in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series went to White, a former professional speed skier from Sun Peaks, B.C., who finished eighth in the 2011 championship standings.
Arteaga took the Most Popular Driver Award in the NASCAR Mexico Series. The 20,000 votes cast nearly tripled its previous high turnout, and was second highest among the regional touring series.
The Most Popular Driver Award winners will be recognized at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Dec. 10 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center's Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.