ATLANTA (WTVM) – NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is one of the sport's most popular drivers for a reason – he really loves his fans.
On Oct. 1, he surprised a young fan battling juvenile cancer with the ultimate NASCAR-lovers' dream – VIP tickets to the CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The coolest part about the surprise? It happened at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Superfan Austin Freeman, 12, is battling a rare form of pediatric bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. The surprise came with just a tap on Austin's shoulder – and his day was made.
"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh," exclaimed Austin just as he first saw Earnhardt Jr before shedding tears. "This is a dream come true for me. I literally can't believe that Dale Jr. is sitting beside me. You have no idea what this means to me. It has touched me so. I just can't believe it. He's been my driver ever since I started loving NASCAR. I can't wait to see Dale race in person at Talladega."
The pair chatted and toured the CFHOF together, tossed a football around and raced around the miniature Talladega track. The winner? Austin by a mile.
"It was just an awesome, incredible day," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I got to meet two people who I now admire. Spending time with my new little buddy Austin was so rewarding because he is an amazing kid. Neither of us had been here before so we toured the Hall together and played interactives. It was a day I had hoped for and more. I really dig this kind of stuff."
The VIP experience includes the best seat in the house for Austin: inside the pit box with Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief Greg Ives.
"You will be a part of the team. You are going to be our good luck charm, and if we win, we will have to take you to some more races," Earnhardt Jr. said.
The CampingWorld.com 500 will take place on Oct. 25.