One of NASCAR's most popular drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will trade his racing gear for formal wear on Nov. 11, as he accompanies one lucky member of America's military and their family to experience the full VIP treatment at the CMA Awards in Nashville.

In a contest dubbed "Chevy Salutes American Heroes," friends and family members of those currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are being asked to submit their personal testimony detailing why their chosen person is considered an inspiration or hero.

The Boot caught up with Dale, Jr. – an avid country music fan – inside his No. 88 National Guard hauler at Richmond International Raceway this past weekend to find out what the men and women of America's military mean to him personally.

"They're our protector," he told us. "The commitment that they make is beyond anything that we can understand. So it's hard to imagine that there's anybody else that you could admire any more than a military service man or woman because of the commitment and the sacrifice. For them to be away, the job they have to do, and the environment that they have to do it in. they are just an elite group of people that we have to be thankful for every day."

Dale Jr. adds that his Hendrick Motorsports team's racing program creates opportunities each year for the fans to get involved, and also to learn more about the National Guard.

Entries for the "Chevy Salutes American Heroes" contest may be submitted in the form of video or written essay by visiting the Your Everyday Hero website. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 28. Military personnel nominated must currently serve in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Chevy will choose the top five stories, and then the public will vote for its favorite from Oct. 5-22.

In addition to enjoying VIP treatment at the CMA Awards, the winner will receive the keys to a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox.

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