MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 22, 2010) – In specific terms, the wish is simple – meet Dale Earnhardt Jr., share a few laughs and stories, ask questions like "What is your favorite hobby?" or "What video games do you play?" and enjoy a NASCAR experience that on any other weekend would come through a television.
In broader terms, the wish is even simpler – escape reality. And through Make-A-Wish Foundation over the past decade, Earnhardt Jr. has helped kids diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions do just that by giving his time at the track each weekend with a Make-A-Wish family.
Earnhardt Jr. began his relationship with Make-A-Wish Foundation in 1999 as a driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Now more than 10 years later, the seven-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is closing in on his 200th wish granted, a milestone shared only by a handful of America’s top athletes. Earnhardt Jr. will facilitate No. 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway during Sprint All-Star Race weekend.
"To meet these kids and families is a privilege," Earnhardt Jr. said. "A lot of times the Make-A-Wish meeting is the best part of the whole weekend. It’s amazing that when you talk to the kids and learn about their lives, you learn a lot about yourself as well."
To commemorate Earnhardt Jr.’s 200th wish milestone, AMP Energy and the National Guard have donated the hood of the No. 88 Chevrolet to The Dale Jr. Foundation for the Sprint All-Star race on May 22. The predominantly black paint scheme was designed by Earnhardt Jr., and it prominently features the logo of The Dale Jr. Foundation.
"I want to thank AMP Energy and the National Guard for donating the hood of the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It’s their advertising space, they pay for it, and for the second year in a row they were gracious enough to give us prime location on the car and help bring exposure to my foundation and the charities we support, like Make-A-Wish. I think the fans will embrace the paint scheme and help us continue to grant wishes for kids dealing with these medical setbacks, whether it’s sending them to Hawaii, hiking the Grand Canyon, or getting a computer to stay connected with their friends. Whatever they want, they should get."
In conjunction with the All-Star paint scheme, TDJF is ramping up fundraising initiatives and calling on fans to raise awareness and money for Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Dale Jr. Foundation will make a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina from its sale of the 2010 NASCAR Day pins, as well as from sales of the 1:25 scale die-casts and T-shirts of the All-Star paint scheme.
Additionally, The Dale Jr. Foundation is honoring the 200th Wish celebration by hosting a special All-Star Race hospitality event exclusive to members of the JR Nation Crew, Earnhardt Jr.’s free-of-charge fan club. The hospitality is sponsored by Suave Men and AMP Energy and features a pre-race appearance by Earnhardt Jr. It also includes food, drink, pre-race pit tours, pre-race access to the Creed concert, race tickets in Grand National Tower, souvenir gift bag, and the opportunity to win raffle prizes. The package is valued at $400 but sold exclusively to JR Nation Crew members at $188. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit TDJF and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina. To become a member of JR Nation totally free of charge, visit www.jrnation.com.
"This is a unique opportunity for fans to have an awesome All-Star race experience, see Dale Jr. up close and personal, and contribute to the Make-A-Wish Foundation," said Camille Thompson of The Dale Jr. Foundation. "We take pride in our direct line of communication with Dale Jr.’s fans, and this type of hospitality event was something that was well-received by fan club members. We’ve done this in the past, and Dale Jr. was fantastic in donating his time before the race to visit his fan club members. We look forward to another strong turn-out on May 22 for the All-Star race."