Bristol Motor Speedway officials announced today that Caleb Kent, Watauga, Tenn., and Jamie Sullivan, Concord, N.C., are the joint winners of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Scholarship for 2023. Both students were honored tonight during pre-race ceremonies prior to the green flag for the Food City 300. They walked across the pre-race stage, waved to the crowd, and each will receive a check for $2,088 and a commemorative plaque.
As a special treat this year for the sponsorship winners, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be competing in the Food City 300 (7:30 p.m., USA Network and PRN Radio), his first race at Bristol Motor Speedway since he retired from full-time driving in 2017.
Kent, a senior at Happy Valley High School, recently started a podcast, Three Wide Racing, which discusses all things racing, including NASCAR. His podcast can be heard on Spotify and other streaming platforms. His love of NASCAR from an early age has ignited his passion for broadcasting. He says listening to Mike Joy and Rick Allen’s play by play inspired him to follow that career path. As a child he would recreate races with diecast cars and announce the action as if it were a live race. In high school he continues to pursue a communications direction as he is a member of the Speech and Debate teams and he competes in the TV Broadcasting category. He also works with the sports announcing team at his high school, calling football and basketball games.
Sullivan attends the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) and earned a degree in Automotive and High Performance Motorsports. After that she decided to continue with her education and added Business Marketing courses to complete her bachelor’s degree. She has been involved with lots of motorsports teams including as an over the wall crew member for an ARCA team and a crew member and driver for the Razin Kane Monster Truck. She was a part of the prestigious UNOH Motorsports Team as a crew member and driver as well. She currently is a crew member and driver for the Monster Mutt Dalmation Monster Jam truck for Feld Entertainment. She is interested in getting into the marketing and communications side of the industry where she wants to channel the power of social media and become an influencer.
Created by Bristol Motor Speedway in 2017 as a retirement gift to Earnhardt Jr., the annual scholarship awards the winning student a one-time payment of $2,088 to assist with all college costs including tuition, housing, books and supplies. Past winners of the BMS Dale Earnhardt Jr. Scholarship are Jaicee Weaver (2018) and Jace Ketron (2019), both of Tennessee High School in Bristol, Tenn., UNOH student Caleb James Cate (2021) from Knoxville, Tenn., and 2022 winners John Clavier of Elizabethton High School and UNOH student Chloe Holman of Essex, Mo.
In order to be eligible, students must be a senior at one of the 21 designated high schools or attending one of the eight designated colleges and universities in the Appalachian Highlands region surrounding Bristol Motor Speedway or a student at the speedway’s official partnering institution, UNOH in Lima, Ohio.
The 21 designated high schools were Abingdon High School; Chuckey-Doak High School; Cloudland High School; Daniel Boone High School; David Crockett High School; Dobyns-Bennett High School; Elizabethton High School; Greeneville High School; Hampton High School; Happy Valley High School; Holston High School; John S. Battle High School; North Greene High School; Patrick Henry High School; Tennessee High School; Science Hill High School; South Greene High School; Sullivan East High School; Virginia High School; West Greene High School and West Ridge High School.
The nine designated higher educational institutions were East Tennessee State University; Emory & Henry College; King University; Milligan University; Northeast State Technical Community College; Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Elizabethton; Tusculum University; the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and the University of Northwestern Ohio.
One of the most iconic race car drivers of all time, NASCAR Hall of Fame member Earnhardt Jr. serves as an analyst for NBC Sports’ NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series race coverage and contributes to additional motorsports programming across NBC Sports. In addition to race coverage, Earnhardt hosts The Dale Jr. Download, a weekly interview program focused on motorsports produced by Dirty Mo Media. Voted by fans as NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver for an unprecedented 15 consecutive years (2003-17), Earnhardt, a 26-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series including two Daytona 500s, is a third-generation driver who followed his legendary father Dale Earnhardt Sr., and his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, into the sport. As a team owner, Earnhardt founded JR Motorsports, which fields four full-time entries in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In the summer of 2020, Earnhardt was selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Earnhardt Jr.’s only Bristol victory in the Cup Series came in the 2004 Night Race in dramatic fashion where he famously said “It’s Bristol, Baby!” in Victory Lane following the win. He also has one win in the Xfinity Series, coming in that same year. He was the first driver to sweep Cup and Xfinity Series races at BMS.