Kevin Harvick wins 2014 Driver Of The Year Award

Kevin Harvick swept the voting for both the 2014 Driver Of The Year Award and the Fourth Quarter winner, respectively, by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists.

Just as Harvick walked off with his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, he was the undisputed winner in both polls of the media.

Driving the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet Harvick, who turned 39 on Monday, won three races — including the final two events — in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The Bakersfield, Calif., native won this honor in his first year driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. Tony Stewart, co-owner of the team and a two-time winner of the Driver Of The Year Award, was the first owner/driver to win the award (2011).

Upon learning of the media award which relates to all automobile racing in the United States or American drivers racing globally, Harvick said, "It’s quite an honor and goes with the respect of the media. Any time you gain that (respect), it has something to do with performance, obviously, as well."

"Harvick was destined to be a Sprint Cup Champion," said Driver Of The Year Award president Barry Schmoyer. "It was not a question of if, but, when. His performance on and off the track makes him a deserving Driver Of The Year."

Harvick garnered 13 of the 16 votes cast by journalists and broadcasters, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver. IndyCar champion Will Power, Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott and World Of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz each received one vote.

"I’m pretty excited about it," Harvick added. "It’s a great honor."

Photos: Kevin Harvick celebrates Champion's Week in Sin City

In the quarterly voting, Harvick beat the NHRA’s Erica Enders-Stevens and Tony Schumacher with more than double their points in a points-based ballot.

In its 48th year, the Driver Of The Year title is unique because it is the original award of its type that encompasses all of the racing series and all of the drivers in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are eligible to vote.

Harvick will receive his trophies and Tissot wristwatches at presentations at places and times to be announced later.

James Cranos is the executive director of the Driver Of The Year Award. Schmoyer, a businessman and sportsman from Sarasota, Fla., is the president of the award.