Earnhardt Jr. recipient of Myers Brothers Award

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Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the recipient of the 2014 Myers Brothers Award for his contributions on and off the racetrack during Thursday's National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, held at Wynn Las Vegas.

The Myers Brothers Award has been presented annually since 1958 in the names of pioneer NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, and its winner is chosen by a vote of the NMPA. This prestigious award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.

Earnhardt, who turned 40 years old in October, has won 23 races during his career in NASCAR's premier series, including victories in the 2004 and '14 Daytona 500s. Four of his victories came this season, as he made the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and finished eighth in the point standings. Earnhardt also won back-to-back titles in NASCAR's second-tier series from 1998-99.

Furthermore, Earnhardt is the co-owner of JR Motorsports, a team competing in the Nationwide (soon-to-be Xfinity) Series. JRM is also owned by his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick.

His Dale Jr. Foundation has raised a total of $913,000 that has been distributed to more than 70 different charities. He also has made 235 appearances on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a number that ranks in the top-five among professional athletes.

"The truth is I'm extremely humbled by this award, but I feel like I share it on so many levels," Earnhardt said during his Myers Brothers Award acceptance speech. "My sister, Kelley, along with everyone at JR Motorsports is as deserving of this as anyone. I've got a lot of passions with NASCAR, but I wouldn't know how to make them realities without all those folks.

"They (at JR Motorsports) are why we just completed our 14th season at building race cars on some level or another. And they're also why the Dale Jr. Foundation exists. I'm just as proud of what we've been able to accomplish there as anything we've ever done on the racetrack."

Others receiving votes for the this year's Myers Brothers Award were ESPN and NASCAR national touring series title sponsors Sprint and Nationwide Insurance.

Tony Stewart won the Myers Brothers Award in 2013, and Jeff Gordon was the recipient of it in 2012. Last year, Earnhardt received the NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, which is presented by the NMPA, for a record 11th consecutive year.

"It's one thing to lead the last lap and get the checkered flag, and it's one thing to swim faster, run faster, hit a ball farther, get those sort of accolades for doing something phenomenal, but when your peers say, 'Good job,' or when the people you're around all the time acknowledge something, even if it's just so minuscule, it's such a good feeling," Earnhardt told reporters after the luncheon had concluded. "That's really better than any kind of trophy for victories. It definitely is a great feeling."

This season, JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott became the youngest competitor to win a NASCAR national series championship after clinching the Nationwide title. Elliott, now 19 years old, will likely join Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola, Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt as Sprint Cup regulars who have developed under Earnhardt full time at the Nationwide level.

In addition to his Nationwide program, Earnhardt contributes to racing at its grassroots levels, fielding Late Model or Street Stock cars since founding JR Motorsports. His Late Model drivers Josh Berry and William Byron finished 1-2, respectively, this season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.