It would serve as little shock that there is an unmistakable correlation between Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s lengthy winless streak (now standing at 96 races) and NASCAR's struggles with attendance and television ratings.
After all, when one of the sport's biggest fan bases can't find the success they crave from their favorite driver, folks tend to lose interest.
While things are looking up for the sport, with fresh faces atop the Nationwide and Camping World Truck standings, and Trevor Bayne's Daytona 500 upset, now appears to be a great time to evaluate the 20 biggest fan bases in NASCAR today, as Driver 88 moves ever closer to ending his winless drought.
Note: Not all of these drivers are Sprint Cup regulars. Those who are Nationwide-only on this list are based on the passionate fan bases they could bring into the the sport.
Said, a "road course ringer," is widely known for his cheering section, the "Said Heads."
A play off the nickname for Grateful Dead fans, Said's supporters often don 'fros similar to their favorite driver's hairstyle.
When the car Said is driving passes them by in the grandstands, chants such as "Who said?" can be heard on television.
Not bad for someone who normally runs only two Sprint Cup races a season.
If you don't take my word for it, take this guitarist's anthem for the driver.
Even though Schrader is primarily known as a television personality at this point in his lengthy career in motorsports, he still frequents the dirt tracks of America every summer.
When the 55-year-old makes what is now a rare appearance at a Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck event, Schrader is usually one of the more popular drivers in the garage area.
Two factors earned Trevor Bayne a spot on this list: driving the legendary No. 21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, and pulling off arguably the biggest upset in NASCAR history by winning the Daytona 500 last month.
The 20-year-old instantly appeals to the younger demographic NASCAR craves, and his devout religious qualities are certainly a plus.
Additionally, the No. 21 is symbolic with decades and decades of the sport's history, as many traditional fans would support the team regardless.
Sixty-nine-year-old Morgan Shepherd is still a veteran on the Nationwide Series level, continuing a 33-year career in NASCAR's national touring levels.
Like Bayne, Shepherd is devoutly religious, as MorganShepherd.com leads Internet users to Faith Motorsports, the driver's own team.
Additionally, the interest in Shepherd allowed the grandfather to drive the No. 21 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing last season in the Nationwide Series after John Wes Townley was let go from his duties.
Danica Patrick's place on this list is based on being far and away the IndyCar Series' most well-known driver, with a history of commercials for sponsor GoDaddy.com.
With help from driver coach Johnny Benson, Patrick finished fourth in the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas last weekend.
She's in the top five for the series' point standings as she prepares for the IndyCar season.
If she decides to make the jump to NASCAR full-time next season, a new audience may come flooding into the sport.
Currently running a limited schedule in the K&N Pro West Series, Travis Pastrana brings in a massive amount of fans from his action sports background.
A legend in both freestyle motocross and rally car racing, Pastrana formed a Nationwide Series team with Michael Waltrip Racing last season.
He'll make his Nationwide debut at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis this July, with plans to compete at the X Games in Los Angeles that same weekend.
Even though the "Tasmanian Devil" may not be a household name in the United States, Marcos Ambrose is a racing great in Australia.
From 2002-2005, Ambrose won two V8 Supercar championships and never finished thirrd in the series' point standings.
Thus, he has an entire nation waiting to see if further success develops at the Sprint Cup level.
Even though Denny Hamlin finished second in the Chase last season, he's far from being one of the sport's most popular drivers.
That could change, however, with a Sprint Cup title this season.
He also earned the approval of Michael Jordan, as the basketball legend's brand now adorns his firesuit.
Here's all the evidence you really need to prove that Juan Pablo Montoya has a massive fanbase: His Twitter account has 277,197 followers—no doubt supported from his fame as a former Formula 1 star.
In comparison, Jimmie Johnson has 11,510 followers, while Jeff Gordon has 40,252 followers.
The 52-year-old veteran continues to rank as a sentimental favorite to win the Sprint Cup title and the Daytona 500 every season.
He could be the best driver in NASCAR history to lack both crowns.
Fans love to root for an underdog.
Bobby Labonte continues to rank towards the top of the Wheaties FUEL Most Popular Driver poll every season, an impressive feat considering how he drove for a multitude of teams in 2010.
This season, the Texan is rewarding his fans by ranking in the top 10 in the Sprint Cup points standings after three races in the No. 47 Toyota for JTG Daugherty Racing.
Matt Kenseth has been the model of consistency over the years, as evidenced by his 2003 Sprint Cup championship season in which he only won one race.
However, his soft-spoken and friendly demeanor has quietly made him one of the sport's most beloved drivers.
There was once a time when Kyle Busch was booed upon every single trip to Victory Lane, whether it Sprint Cup, Nationwide or the Camping World Truck Series.
Slowly but surely, however, those boos are starting to turn into cheers, as "Rowdy" has emerged as a legitimate threat to Jimmie Johnson's Sprint Cup dominance.
Kasey Kahne was virtually set up from the start of his Sprint Cup career to be a beloved driver.
He replaced Bill Elliott, a 16-time Most Popular Driver, in the No. 9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports in 2004, and his boyish charm has attracted many members of the opposite gender.
While he hasn't reached Victory Lane since a 2009 win at Atlanta, fans are hopeful that his one-year stay at Red Bull Racing will be a fruitful one.
"Cousin Carl" is the hottest driver on the Sprint Cup circuit right now, with three wins in the last five races.
With endorsements from companies such as Subway and Aflac, he's also one of the sport's most visible drivers.
His visibility makes him more likely to draw in newer fans to NASCAR.
"Happy"'s mean streak and aggressive nature in the early days of his career in the No. 29 Chevrolet simultaneously made him one of NASCAR's most popular and most hated drivers.
However, Harvick is now a seasoned veteran, attracting the respect of many fans who see him as a worthy replacement for Dale Earnhardt at Richard Childress Racing.
While many complain that Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team's dominance is ruining NASCAR, it should be noted that "Double J" finished eighth in the Wheaties FUEL Most Popular Driver voting last season.
Fans will root for a front-runner, even if he is a five-time Sprint Cup champion.
Once the figurative arch-nemesis to Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon has developed into one of the sport's most popular drivers over the years.
This was evidenced after Gordon's win at Phoenix last month, in which he received a boisterous ovation during his burnout and victory celebration.
"Smoke" has been immensely popular since his defection from the IndyCar Series in 1999.
Known for his Earnhardt-esque style and aggression on and off the track, Stewart's ability to lack a filter in interviews has made him a hero to some NASCAR faithful.
Did you really think anyone else would top this list?
Thoughts? Comment below.
Ryan Papaserge is a junior journalism/mass communication student at St. Bonaventure University and a featured columnist at Bleacher Report.