DARLINGTON, S.C. (Jan. 21, 2017) – Jimmie Johnson, who won a record-tying seventh NASCAR championship this past season, has been voted the winner of the 2016 Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award presented by the National Motorsports Press Association.
Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, was named on 62 percent of the ballots cast for the award of the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing), Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing), Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Joey Logano (Team Penske).
Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Johnson are the only NASCAR drivers to win seven titles in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The announcement was made during the NMPA’s annual Convention and Awards Dinner held in Concord, N.C.
It marks the seventh time Johnson, 41, has received the Driver of the Year honor. He also won the award in 2004, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’10, and ’13.
Johnson won five races in 2016, including the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway which clinched his seventh championship. He ended the year with 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 36 races.
The award is named in honor of Petty, NASCAR’s win leader in its top series with 200 victories. It has been presented annually by the NMPA since 1969. Twenty-three different drivers have won the award since its inception.
Richard Petty Driver of the Year
Determined by vote of the membership, the Richard Petty Driver of the Year award has been presented annually since 1969 to recognize the season’s most outstanding driver. It is named in honor of the seven-time NASCAR premier series champion:
2016, Jimmie Johnson; 2015 – Kyle Busch; 2014, Kevin Harvick; 2013, Jimmie Johnson; 2012, Brad Keselowski; 2011, Tony Stewart; 2010, Jimmie Johnson; 2009, Jimmie Johnson; 2008, Carl Edwards; 2007, Jimmie Johnson; 2006, Jimmie Johnson; 2005, Tony Stewart; 2004, Jimmie Johnson; 2003, Ryan Newman; 2002, Tony Stewart; 2001, Kevin Harvick; 2000, Bobby Labonte;
1999, Dale Jarrett; 1998, Jeff Gordon; 1997, Dale Jarrett; 1996, Terry Labonte; 1995, Jeff Gordon; 1994, Dale Earnhardt; 1993, Rusty Wallace; 1992, Davey Allison; 1991, Harry Gant; 1990, Dale Earnhardt; 1989, Mark Martin; 1988, Rusty Wallace; 1987, Dale Earnhardt; 1986, Tim Richmond and Dale Earnhardt;
1985, Bill Elliott; 1984, Terry Labonte; 1983, Bobby Allison; 1982, Darrell Waltrip; 1981, Darrell Waltrip; 1980 Dale Earnhardt; 1979 Cale Yarborough; 1978 Cale Yarborough; 1977, Cale Yarborough; 1976, Darrell Waltrip; 1975, Richard Petty; 1974, Richard Petty; 1973, David Pearson; 1972, Bobby Allison; 1971, Bobby Allison; 1970, Bobby Isaac; 1969, LeeRoy Yarbrough.