CONCORD, N.C. -- Friday afternoon, Charlotte Motor Speedway presented Dale Earnhardt Jr. with a very special gift.
The track, along with Speedway Children's Charities, established the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund at Carolinas Healthcare System's Levine Children's Hospital.
"We have a lot of history with concussions and awareness and rehab," Earnhardt said. "This is something that's actually very close to my heart. I hope to be able to continue to help others going forward -- this is a great way to do that."
The $100,000 check goes toward concussion testing and research, specifically providing ImPACT baseline concussion testing for more than 10,000 student athletes at 62 middle schools, high schools and athletic associations across eight area counties as well as Johnson C. Smith University and Gardner-Webb University.
Among the schools that will be able to take part in the program is Earnhardt's former school, Mooresville High School, and some athletes from the school were in attendance to help with the check presentation.
“Charlotte Motor Speedway is NASCAR’s home track and Dale Jr.’s home track, so we wanted to present him with a gift will have an impact here at ‘home’,” said Marcus Smith, president and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. “In addition to everything he’s accomplished as a competitor, Dale Jr. has been passionate about raising concussion awareness through his own experiences and helping children through The Dale Jr. Foundation. We want the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund to do both with a significantly positive influence throughout the Charlotte region.”
The gift will also support local concussion seminars for parents, students, coaches and pediatricians.
“This is a great gift that will impact a lot of lives in the area and make a real difference,” Earnhardt said. “This track has always been really special to me. I really appreciate it. That’s a great gesture that is going to have such a long-lasting impact.”