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Earnhardt: 'I couldn't turn down the challenge'

By Gray Caldwell

BROOKLYN, Mich.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn't about to back down from a challenge.

On Wednesday, Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, calling out Earnhardt to be the next participant.

After practice at Michigan International Speedway Friday, Earnhardt did his part.

"I accept," he said with a smile, just before a bucket full of ice-cold water was poured on his head.

"Basically, I'd heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge, saw that it was becoming quite popular on social media, and was surprised when I was challenged by two of my favorite Redskins, Ryan Kerrigan and Pierre Garcon," Earnhardt said afterward. "I knew that I couldn't turn down the challenge."

Earnhardt then called on Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Steve Letarte and Redskins owner Dan Snyder to take the challenge themselves.

It didn't take long for Snyder to respond.

Most importantly, Earnhardt said, the challenge benefits a great cause.

"It raises awareness for ALS and I wanted to be a part of it and wanted to know more," he said. "I was really surprised to read that during the last two weeks the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $4 million, and I guess last year in the same timeframe it only raised about a million dollars.

"So this Internet craze that is sort of sweeping the nation is definitely making a difference, so it's great to be included."

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