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LAS VEGAS – Since his very first race in NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has driven nothing but Chevrolets.

At Homestead-Miami Speedway, he took his No. 88 Chevrolet SS around the racetrack for a final time, capping off a long, successful career with the “Bowtie” brand.

"It's been very special," Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, said at the time. "The Earnhardt family and Chevrolet have a long history together. We all watched Dale Jr. grow up around the track.

"We're so proud to be a partner with him.”

Chevrolet cemented the importance of that relationship Wednesday at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, presenting Earnhardt with the Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition, the company donated a car for the driver to auction to benefit The Dale Jr. Foundation.

“I just want to thank Chevrolet,” Earnhardt said. “They’ve given us a Corvette for I don’t know how many years now for the foundation, and we raise about $350,000 each year just with that raffle alone.”

And his love of Chevrolets has been genuine from the very start.

“It’s been a real pleasure growing up in a Chevy family,” Earnhardt said. “I drive Chevys because of my dad, obviously – he always drove Chevys. We couldn’t have had more fun. And we’ll keep on driving them.”

Earnhardt joins former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as a recipient of the prestigious honor – Gordon accepted the very first Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

“Thanks for allowing me to be part of the family,” Earnhardt said, “and I appreciate the acknowledgement today.”