NASCAR fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. turns 40

getty images

getty images

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned 40 on Friday.

The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS at Hendrick Motorsports has won three races thus far in 2014 but a lost right front tire last week at Kansas Speedway has him 11th in the points and facing elimination.

NASCAR will run the Bank of America 500 this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On Thursday Charlotte track president Marcus Smith and Speedway Motorsports executive Don Hawk president surprised Earnhardt Jr. with a U.S. Legends Dirt Modified car that is an exact replica of a U.S. Legends car that the driver drove at the speedway as a teenager.

“I appreciate that,” Junior told Smith and Hawk. “That is exactly the way the car looked. … That was my very first race ever right there. I think we ran before the Nationwide race that day. I appreciate this. What a nice looking little piece there. This track and you guys, especially you two, mean a lot to me, and continue to be great friends of mine, and I really appreciate that.”