When Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaves Martinsville Speedway for the final time as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, he will leave behind a legacy that will be felt not only in the garage and in the grandstands, but at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), as well.
Martinsville Speedway contributed $10,000 to start an endowment for the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Honorary Scholarship in the school’s Motorsports Program. Each year, two students enrolled in the program, who have a minimum GPA of 2.5, will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
“Dale’s passion for racing goes well beyond what he has done on the track,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “Dale has believed in growing the sport, through both driver development and team ownership at the weekly and touring levels. By starting this endowment, Martinsville Speedway will, in a small way, carry on his legacy in a town that he has meant so much to.”
The Motorsports Program, or Racing College of Virginia, provides students with hands on training in how to build a race car, serve on a pit crew and provides a path to a four-year degree in engineering. The program fields a Late Model Stock Car team that competes at weekly race tracks throughout the region, as well as in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville every fall.
The scholarship will not only help a student, it will also help promote the growing program.
“The Dale Earnhardt Jr. Scholarship opens the doors of opportunity for students interesting in pursuing a career in motorsports,” Patrick Henry Community College President Dr. Angeline Godwin said. “Combined with PHCC’s major expansion of the motorsports program in the new Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology (MET) Complex, this significant donation ensures that the legacy of racing will continue to thrive in Martinsville and Henry County.”
Additional funds to support the endowment are being raised, to keep the scholarship in perpetuity.
Located in Martinsville, Patrick Henry Community College is a part of the Virginia Community College System and has an enrollment of 3,000 students.
Sunday’s First Data 500 is the first race in the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. If the winning driver is in the Playoffs, he would be the first to clinch a spot in the Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last fall, Jimmie Johnson won his ninth grandfather clock, on the way to winning his record-tying seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Tickets for the First Data 500 are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.