NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. and making wishes come true
Never mind that Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't won a race in nearly two years. NASCAR's most popular driver is about to reach a notable milestone regardless.
For the 200th time, Earnhardt plans to spend part of his day with a child who has a life-threatening medical condition and whose one wish was to meet the driver, a meeting arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
It’s a mark only a handful of sports figures has reached and one of the others is Earnhardt’s teammate, four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, who met his 200th Make-A-Wish Foundation child two years ago.
Sports fans and the media spend so much time focused on the failures and frailties of athletes – all of which make news, after all – that it’s sometimes easy to overlook those moments when star players have a positive influence.
“A lot of times the Make-A-Wish meeting is the best part of the whole weekend,” said Earnhardt, whose 200th granted wish is scheduled next month at Charlotte Motor Speedway during NASCAR’s Sprint All-Star Race weekend.
“It’s amazing that when you talk to the kids and learn about their lives, you learn a lot about yourself as well," he said in a statement. "To meet these kids and [their] families is a privilege.”
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. signs autographs April 9 at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images