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Dale Earnhardt Jr. surprises NC veteran before Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — One North Carolina veteran got a chance to ride in the Goodyear blimp at the Daytona International Speedway but didn’t realize one of the men piloting the blimp was NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Paul Siverson is a Marine Corps veteran who has served in Somalia, Vietnam and Desert Storm. He also volunteers with North Carolina-based NCServes, which helps veterans and service members transition back to their civilian lives.

The website describes NCServes as “North Carolina’s first coordinated network of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve veterans and their families.”

To celebrate Siverson’s 30 years of service, Goodyear offered him and his wife a free trip to the Daytona 500 and a ride aboard the blimp.

Siverson, a die-hard NASCAR and Earnhardt fan, was surprised when he found out Earnhardt was onboard the flight.

Earnhardt gave a $10,000 donation to the non-profit.

Learn more about NCServes here.