Thought this was interesting and topic related....from That's Racin'
Bill Elliott, voted the National Motorsports Press Association's Most Popular Driver for the past 10 years running and 15 times total, has removed his name from the 2001 award ballot in honor of Dale Earnhardt. "Being voted the most popular driver for 15 years is certainly an honor," said Elliott, at Watkins Glen preparing for Sunday's Global Crossing @ the Glen. "But, this is a much different year than others. Dale Earnhardt never won this award, and I think it would be a tremendous honor for the Earnhardt family to receive it this year. "I certainly don't want to stand in the way of his family receiving this award," Elliott said. Elliott is the first driver in the history of the award to remove his name from the balloting process. "Over the past decade Bill Elliott's fans have made his name synonymous with the award," said David Poole, who covers motorsports for The Charlotte Observer and is president of the NMPA. "Bill's decision to remove his name from voting is another example of why he has won this award so often. Given how loyal his fans have been over the years, I can't help but believe they will understand Bill's reasons for making this gesture." NASCAR officials applauded Elliott's decision. "Bill's decision to step aside in the voting demonstrates just why he has been such a popular driver for so many years," said Mike Helton, NASCAR president.(That's Racin')(8-10-2001)