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Earnhardt Jr. Voted First Quarter Winner Of Prestigious DOTY Award

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, April 30 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins DOTY Award. (RacinToday/HHP fille photo by Alan Marler)

Dale Earnhardt Jr., winner of NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500, has been voted recipient of the First Quarter Driver of the Year Award for 2014.

Earnhardt prevailed in balloting by a national panel of motorsports journalists and broadcasters with seven of 17 first-place votes.

Ending an almost two-year winless drought, Earnhardt took the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway in the Sprint Cup Series’ rain-delayed “Super Bowl” on Feb. 23. Earnhardt added three second-place results and one third-place finish during the quarter which ended April 12.

“I’m pretty blown away that we’ve won the First Quarter 2014 Driver of the Year Award,” Earnhardt said. “It’s an honor and really humbling to be chosen. The members that vote on this award are a credible group, and it’s an award that’s meant a lot to different drivers. It’s one that I’m proud to have.”

Dale’s father, seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, was voted DOTY in 1987 and 1994. If Junior goes on to claim the season-ending ballot, he’d become the third winner’s son to also be selected DOTY. Al Unser (1970) and Al Unser Jr. (1990) and Mario Andretti (1967, 1978, and 1984) and Michael Andretti (1991) are the other father/son winners.

Driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt totaled 88 points under the DOTY point system. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 basis.

“Hopefully we can keep up the good season with our National Guard team and keep ourselves in the conversation for the rest of the year,” said Earnhardt, who will receive a trophy and Tissot wristwatch at a race weekend to be determined.

“Dale and his crew chief, Steve Letarte, are in the groove,” said Barry Schmoyer, president of the DOTY Foundation. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see them at the Sprint Cup Championship table later this year.”

NASCAR’s Kevin Harvick and Will Power of the Verizon IndyCar Series tied for second place with 80 points. Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing, won two races during the quarter and earned five first-place votes.

Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet for Team Penske, won the IndyCar Series’ season-opener on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and finished second on the Streets of Long Beach en route to earning three first-place votes.

Chase Elliott, 18-year-old son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, burst into the limelight by scoring the first two wins of his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Junior Motorsports. Elliott totaled 37 points, including one first-place vote, to finish fourth. Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing earned one first-place vote, as a total of 20 drivers scored points during the quarter.

In its 48th year, voting for the Driver of the Year Award is conducted by 17 journalists and broadcasters from across the country. Three RacinToday.com staffers _ Mike Harris, Jim Pedley and John Sturbin _ are members of the voting panel.

Further information on the award may be obtained by writing to PO Box 49827, Sarasota, Fla., 34230 or calling (941) 379-2318. The DOTY email address: barrydoty@yahoo.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, April 30 2014
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