Dale Earnhardt Jr. grants 200th wish, opens up on McGrew

There are a lot of kids out there with life-threatening illnesses, which is sad beyond sad. But a lot of them want to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr., and as a result, he's now on his 200th Make-a-Wish visit.

The wish will come during the Sprint All-Star race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. To honor the occasion, Amp Energy and The National Guard have donated hood space on the All-Star car to spotlight the Dale Junior Foundation. Nice gesture.

In other Dale Jr. news, Nate Ryan over at USA Today has a good look at the Junior-Lance McGrew relationship 10 months in. It's a striking departure from the relationship between Junior and former crew chief Tony Eury Jr., and a big reason why he's starting to see more success:

"We don't have to be best friends," Earnhardt says. "We actually get along really good. But there's not that urge to be friends first. With Tony Jr., the No. 1 thing was the personal relationship, way ahead of the crew chief success. That's not there anymore, and I don't have to worry."

Results speak volumes: Junior is now in seventh position in the standings; this time last year, he was 19th.

Now, for a little guess-the-quote fun time. Both of the quotes below are attributed to Junior, but take a guess which one he actually said, and which one was written by a PR agent:

"I want to thank AMP Energy and the National Guard for donating the hood of the car. It's their advertising space. They pay for it, and for the second year in a row, they were gracious enough to give us prime location on the car and help bring exposure to my foundation and the charities we support, like Make-A-Wish."

"We don't have to call and see what we thought about the Bobcats in the playoffs, none of that (baloney). It makes it easy ... I have a lot of fun being around him in the truck and during practices. We get to joking around so (darn) much, that's about all we do. He's never done anything that's gotten under my skin."

Wow! I can't tell a bit of difference!

Anyway, good on Junior for all the charitable work he's doing. There are plenty of wishes that fans have for Junior, most of which involve black-and-white checkered flags, but he's doing a good job of picking out the most important ones.