After four weeks of voting and the tabulation of over 38,000 votes, it’s time to announce the winner of the 2018 Late Model Most Popular Driver Award presented by ARbodies on Speed51.com.
Just five days after being named the most popular driver for the 2018 CARS Tour Super Late Model season, Molly Helmuth has been voted by short track racing fans as the 2018 Speed51 Late Model Most Popular Driver.
In a tight battle with drivers from all over North America, Helmuth secured more votes than any other driver during the voting period.
“It means a lot to me just because there were so many drivers from all across the country that were on that list,” Helmuth said. “To have been able to go from just a name on the list to the top 20, to the top 10, and to win it is a huge honor. It just kind of shows how supportive my fan base is, not only to me but to my sponsors and stuff like that. I’ve grown my fan base organically over the last few years and I’m really proud of that.”
It’s no secret that getting to the next level of the motorsports industry requires more than just talent behind the wheel. The business side, including the marketability of drivers, has become equally – if not more – important than on-track success.
“I’ve always understood that the business side of motorsports is just as important as the on-track side of racing,” Helmuth said. “Ever since I was young, I just learned through my parents what it takes to grow a brand in the industry because they both have their own businesses. They always kind of told me to go outside of the box with whatever I do, whether it’s marketing for a sponsor or marketing to win an award, just do things that other people aren’t doing. Show individuals that you want it just as bad if not more than other people.”
Traditionally, the battle to win the Late Model Most Popular Driver Award presented by ARbodies has resembled a political campaign, with each driver rallying their fans to get out and vote. Throughout the voting period, Helmuth rallied her troops with unique flyers and campaigns on social media.
“If you’re able to take an hour out of your day to create a flyer that’s different than just putting a link out there, it just draws more attention,” she stated. “I enjoy doing stuff like that, and that’s why I have my own start-up marketing company. I just enjoy doing stuff like this and kind of being different and setting myself apart from others.”
For being voted by the fans as the 2018 Late Model Most Popular Driver, Helmuth will receive a free white “A” package body kit from ARbodies, located in Greenbrier, Tennessee. ARbodies has been the presenting sponsor of the MPD voting on Speed51.com since its inception in 2007.
While Helmuth took home top honors, another female driver will take home a prize of her own.
In addition to awarding the overall Late Model Most Popular Driver Award, ARbodies is also committed to supporting the short track stars that compete weekly at their local short track.
Jolynn “JoJo” Wilkinson, the 2018 Pro Late Model Rookie of the Year at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), tallied more votes than any other weekly driver in the nation. As a result, Wilkinson will receive a $750 ARbodies product certificate.
Wilkinson also finished second in the overall voting for Late Model Most Popular Driver. Ashton Higgins (Anderson Motor Speedway), Brittney Zamora (Northwest Super Late Model Series) and Raphael Lessard (CARS Tour) completed the top five in the voting.
During the 12-year history of the Speed51.com Most Popular Driver Award presented by ARbodies, 11 different drivers have won the award. The list of winners includes Molly Helmuth (2018), Glen Luce (2017), Raphael Lessard (2016), Cole Williams (2013 & 2015), Ronnie Osmer (2014), Kenzie Ruston (2012), Josh Berry (2011), Trey Mitchell (2010), Ross Kenseth (2009), Nick Murgic (2008) and Andy Pugh (2007).
ARbodies has become an innovative leader in the ABC body field, which was developed several years ago to help create a uniform set of body rules for Late Model series and tracks throughout the country, while also offering the bodies at an economical price for racers. ARbodies also offers cutting-edge body technology for a wide range of short track racing cars and trucks.
For more information on ARbodies, visit them online at www.arbodies.com and follow them on Twitter, @arbodies.
Since 2001, Speed51.com has been the home for behind-the-scenes stories and short track news for series all around the country including NASCAR’s Touring Series, Late Models, Modifieds and more. With nearly 20 years of experience, Speed51 continues to raise the bar in race coverage with its signature Trackside Now live updates, on-demand racing videos, live race broadcasts and news reporting from short tracks across the nation.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com