As the high school dropout rate climbs to alarming rates, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, is looking to do something about students leaving high school before they graduate.
The NASCAR driver is teaming up with National Guard Youth Foundation and its ChalleNGe program in order to curb these numbers. The foundation and Earnhardt Jr. will invite ChalleNGe graduates as special guests to the June 29 Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway. In addition, the graduates will be featured in a public service announcement with Earnhardt Jr.
"We're honored to be involved with the National Guard Youth Foundation and help raise awareness of the problem of high school dropouts in our country," said Earnhardt Jr. "These are great kids, but they've fallen off the radar for any number of reasons. We have to give them the full attention they need and deserve. I've seen how the National Guard Youth Foundation and ChalleNGe do that and get them back on track, which is life-changing and so critical."
According to the National Guard Youth Foundation, nearly 25 percent of U.S. students drop out of high school. As the ChalleNGe program has helped more than 115,000 teenagers either graduate or obtain their GED, the program is viewed as a successful and cost-effective way to reduce the dropout rate.
"The National Guard Youth Foundation believes that every high school youth at risk of being lost or forgotten deserves a second chance," said Gail Dady, president of the National Guard Youth Foundation Board of Directors. "Dropping out of high school creates a potentially devastating domino effect on the kids themselves, their families, communities and, ultimately, our nation. We are grateful for the support of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports for helping us raise awareness of ChalleNGe and the positive impact the program is having on the lives of youth in need."
Earnhardt Jr. has strong finish at Sonoma
In the latest NASCAR news today, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 Chevrolet SS finished in 12th this past weekend at Sonoma Raceway. After reaching as high as second place and as low as 19th, Earnhardt Jr. said he the race became very aggressive in the final laps.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver said in the end he drove smart and was happy he didn't create any problems for himself, regaining some points he lost in the last race at Michigan after his engine went out.