Track’s donation launches Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund


Track’s donation launches Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund

CONCORD, N.C. — Track’s donation launches Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund:-Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose battles with concussions cost him half of last racing season and threatened his quality of life, has a mission to attack the problems associated with them.

He has gone so far as to promise he will donate his brain to science for concussion-related research.

Charlotte Motor Speedway joined Earnhardt in addressing the concussion issue Friday when it feted its hometown hero, who is retiring from full-time racing Nov. 19.

The track will donate $100,000 to establish the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Concussion Research Fund at the Carolinas Healthcare System’s Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.

During his final season, Earnhardt has encouraged speedways to forgo the traditional gifts presented to retiring stars and become involved instead in charitable causes.

“I don’t need any silly stuff or goofy gifts that I’m just going to put in a warehouse somewhere and never see,” Earnhardt said. “It feels good to see others be helped. I want everybody to be happy. That’s kind of my thing. It’s the way I’ve always been.”

The CMS donation also will underwrite baseline concussion testing for more than 10,000 athletes at 62 Charlotte-area high schools, along with Johnson C. Smith University and Gardner-Webb University.

Included in that group will be athletes from Mooresville (N.C.) High School, which Earnhardt attended and where he played one year on the soccer team. Several Mooresville athletes were on hand for Friday’s news conference announcing the donation.

Earnhardt sat out the last half of last season while recovering from concussion effects. A long rehabilitation enabled him to return to driving this year. He has seven races remaining in his final full-time season.

“We have a history with concussions and rehab and all, so this is something close to my heart,” Earnhardt said.