BRISTOL, Tenn. – Two days before Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol, the track presented him with two gifts honoring his final appearance at the track.
Jerry Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, presented Earnhardt with an annual scholarship in his name to a Sullivan County High School student demonstrating outstanding commitment in the field of automotive technology.
“It’s fun to see how tracks get creative to make an impact in their own communities,” Earnhardt said. “I thought it was going to be a one-time deal, it surprised me that it (the scholarship) is going to be annual.”
Earnhardt also received a special gift from longtime friend and artist Sam Bass. Bass presented the driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevy an original painting of the Bristol Motor Speedway program cover for Sunday’s race. The painting honors the Earnhardt legacy and features this week’s Axalta scheme.
“It’s been my honor to have done the program covers at Bristol for a long, long time,” Bass said. “This one was kind of special, I was so excited to get the opportunity to paint your Axalta car on the cover.”
Earnhardt was appreciative of the original painting and loved that it came from a dear friend of the family.
“Sam has been great for the sport,” Earnhardt said. “A great friend to myself, my father and the whole family. I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten an original painting so this is very special.”