Dale Jr. and Kelley Awarded N.C.’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Ron Lemasters | JR Motorsports | 1/24/2018

Dale Jr. Kelley Earnhardt Miller News

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller joined a rather exclusive club on Tuesday, with both being awarded the state of North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 24, 2018) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller joined a rather exclusive club on Tuesday, with both being awarded the state of North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

Dale Jr. and Kelley were awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper during the annual award ceremony and luncheon at the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce. Earnhardt Jr. was also named the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year. In 2015, Earnhardt Jr. and Earnhardt Miller were presented with a ceremonial key to the city of Mooresville after JRM earned its first NASCAR Xfinity Series championship with driver Chase Elliott, and for growing JR Motorsports from a handful of employees to more than 100.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which was created in 1964, is given to residents for “exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.”

 

Others who have received the award in the past include Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Jr. and Kelley’s father, along with NASCAR luminaries Rick Hendrick (a co-owner of JR Motorsports), Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. Basketball star Michael Jordan is a recipient, along with entertainment’s Andy Griffith and Oprah Winfrey, poet Maya Angelou and civil rights icon Coretta Scott King, widow of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Receiving the award was humbling for the 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver and winner of 50 NASCAR races, and it showed in his remarks.

“There is so much pride for me about my home state, and I want everybody to know every day where I was from,” he said, referring to the fact that his race cars carried not only his name above the driver’s side door, but also a state flag. “I can’t thank you enough. This is an incredible honor for me and my family and for Kelley, who is celebrating her anniversary as we speak. That’s the reason she couldn’t be here.

“We’re very pumped, and hope to continue to be a huge part of the community and do everything we can to make you guys proud and glad we’re here. Thank you so much.”

In addition, the Chamber of Commerce presented Earnhardt Jr. with a book of messages from fans and supporters, which was compiled in the aftermath of his father’s death in a racing accident at Daytona International speedway on Feb. 18, 2001. The Chamber initiated a program for grieving fans to leave their thoughts and feelings and bound some of the responses into a handsome volume for Earnhardt Jr. and his family.

“It’s wonderful for you to even think of such a great idea, for people to have a way to share their thoughts and feelings,” an emotional Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’m overwhelmed with happiness that you have this much respect and pride in my father, and he surely loved this community. I think he would be very happy to know that it loved him back.”

Schedule

Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 400

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/19/2017
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Martin Truex Jr. (P)50400
2Kyle Busch (P)5035-5
3Kevin Harvick (P)5033-7
4Brad Keselowski (P)5030-10
5Chase Elliott2377-2663
6Denny Hamlin2353-2687
7Matt Kenseth2344-2696
8Kyle Larson2320-2720
9Ryan Blaney2305-2735
10Jimmie Johnson2260-2780
21Dale Earnhardt Jr.668-4372