Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains interaction with young fan at Martinsville

Dale Earnhardt Jr. first met the young fan that he comforted in the garage at Martinsville earlier this year.

Junior said Friday at Texas that he met the fan, who was overcome with emotion to see Earnhardt Jr. last weekend in Virginia, this spring. After their encounter, Junior invited the fan and his family back for the fall race and said the team would get them hot passes.

So, when I saw him in the garage he was just a guest of ours for the weekend, but the reason why we had such a — I guess such an intimate interaction is because every time I see him he cries and I’m trying to tell him there at that moment that the race track is a happy place, we are going to have a lot of fun, we are going to work on this car and try to get our car fast and that he was there for the whole weekend and to enjoy it and make sure he has fun,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We saw him every day and after the race we saw him and I signed the gloves that we used and gave them to him right after we got out of the car, I said, ‘meet me at the car, I’m going to park it on pit road with all the other cars, I will see you at the pit wall.’”

“He had a gift for me and [wife] Amy and so we swapped gifts. He lost his mom to an illness just recently, so he is having a hard time with that and just seems like a great kid, just wanted to have him out to the race and give him a really great experience and get him as close to the car and the team as we could. He had a lot of fun. He stood there with us for the anthem and enjoyed pre-race with us and got to be involved in all that and see what was going on.”

How cool is that?

Sunday’s race at Texas is the second-to-last race in Earnhardt’s Cup Series career. He got his first career win at Texas Motor Speedway as a rookie in 2000 while driving for his father’s team.

“We had gone to the national sales convention or the big yearly meeting that Budweiser has and stood on stage and told them that they hadn’t won a race in a while and we were going to get them back to Victory Lane,” Junior said. “To come out there and kind of deliver on that was a bit of a relief.  We kind of started rolling into winning at Richmond and going to the All-Star race and winning that really was a great short couple of months for us.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. smiles during a media availability before Sunday’s NASCAR Cup series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!