By sheer volume, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s April 25th retirement announcement has been the news story of the year in NASCAR. The surprising decision made by the sport's most popular personality significantly contributed to Earnhardt's name being referenced in more than 46,000 news media stories.
According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc., which specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships and branding across all forms of media, Earnhardt has been mentioned in 37,403 articles appearing on the Internet since the beginning of the 2017 season. Print articles featuring the driver numbered 4,138 over the same time span, while 5,184 local and national television programs devoted time to Earnhardt.
Standing second among NASCAR drivers in news coverage, with 14% fewer media hits than Earnhardt, is Joey Logano, followed by Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.
"Announcers during the race telecasts this year have been mentioning Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. most frequently, but it is not surprising Earnhardt has dominated the rest of the media," said Eric Wright of JJ&A. "Earnhardt's popularity, and therefore his coverage, have always superseded what happened on the track. That is not to take away from his racing skills, but rather, to his credit, his personality and branding impact have always gone way beyond the race outcomes."
Other NASCAR drivers achieving sizable press this year, but are not currently in the All-Star Race field, include Chase Elliott (33,184 news stories), Danica Patrick (22,910), Ryan Blaney (21,819) and Clint Bowyer (15,640).
-- Joyce Julius --