NMPA Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award

Max Verstappen’s historic year has earned him the honor of Richard Petty Driver of the Year presented by the National Motorsports Press Association.

Verstappen earned his third consecutive Formula 1 world championship for Red Bull Racing while winning 19 of the season’s 22 events. He also placed on the podium in 21 of the 22 events to have an incredible average finish of 1.3.

During Verstappen’s domination, he won all three grand prix races held in the United States. It was the first time a driver has won in the same country three times in a single season.

Verstappen also had a stretch of 10 consecutive victories that started in Miami in early May and went through Monza in early September. Additionally, Verstappen won the final seven consecutive races of the season.

The award is voted upon by NMPA press membership. Verstappen was voted the winner over newly crowned NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney and six-time Cup Series season winner William Byron. Erica Enders, who earned her sixth NHRA Pro Stock championship and became the winningest female in motorsports, finished fourth in the voting.

Other drivers who received votes were NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, Jett Lawrence of Supercross/Motocross, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series driver Ricky Thornton Jr., five-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion Brad Sweet, and World of Outlaws CASE Construction late model champion Bobby Pierce.

The award was announced Sunday, Jan. 21, during the annual NMPA convention and awards luncheon held at the Great Wolf Lodge.

The Richard Petty Driver of the Year 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.