Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s gift to teen draws tears from his fans

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s gift to teen draws tears from his fans
(WBTV)

(Joe Marusak/Charlotte Observer) - Retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. drew tears from his fans on social media after he surprised a Tennessee teenager with the first Dale Jr. Scholarship.

Earnhardt shocked high school senior Jaicee Weaver with the award at his JR Motorsports race shop in Mooresville this week.

To honor Earnhardt, Bristol Motor Speedway created the scholarship when Earnhardt retired at the end of the 2017 Cup season, WCYB in Bristol, Tenn., reported.

The award will be given to a Sullivan County, Tenn., student each year who intends to pursue an automotive career and needs financial assistance.

Weaver went to Earnhardt's shop for what she thought was a final round of interviews as one of four finalists for the award.

Earnhardt's Dirty Mo Media production company filmed her appearance at the shop.

"It would mean a lot to me to win the scholarship because it just proves that girls like belong in (such) a workplace just like guys do," Weaver said during an interview at the shop. "And it's just something I'm really passionate about."

She said she wants to study auto body, fabrication and (automotive) paint in college.

"I really just want to restore old cars and make them as beautiful as they used to be," Weaver said during her tour of JR Motorsports.

After keeping it a secret that Weaver had won the scholarship, Earnhardt finally fessed up to her in his office as her parents stood near.

Weaver then hugged Earnhardt.

Released on Thursday, the video had drawn 65,000 views by Friday afternoon. Social media teared up.

"This pollen is seriously making my eyes water," Mooresville pastor David Giles tweeted.

"Well that just made my eyes water," chimed Jackie West , whose late father raced cars on dirt tracks. "Now show 'em what a girl can do!!"