JR Nation CrewWe all know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the most popular NASCAR drivers today. And now, with his move to Hendrick Motorsports and his win at the Bud Shootout, it seems like all eyes are on him now more than ever, which doesn’t even seem possible but whatever. And it’s not like Dale has been shirking the spotlight lately either. I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be him but I do know what it’s like to be a fan of his and it’s getting harder everyday to keep track of everything that’s going on. He’s got the new clothing line, the candy bar, new commercials, an entertainment division, and now a new fan club.

The new JR Nation fan club launched yesterday. The club will offer the most dedicated of Dale Jr. fans access to news, contests and the chance to connect with other fans. I might sign up for this just for all the stuff you get in the membership kit. I just bought a new car and I need a new license plate frame.

In honor of the launch, JR Nation is giving new members opportunities to win special prizes during the first 88 hours. From launch at 3:00 pm ET today through 7 a.m. ET on Friday, anyone who purchases a JR Nation membership is entered to win a grand prize 88 year JR Nation membership, an $88 gift card to ShopJRNation.com and a commemorative plaque signed by Dale Jr. All fans who join in the first 88 hours will be eligible for one of several other gift cards for ShopJRNation.com, and every new member will receive a special bonus gift with their 2008 membership kit. Anyone visiting JR Nation during the 88 hour celebration can also register for a free two-week limited access trial to the fan club.

Membership in JR Nation is just $34.88, and will provide full access to JR Nation online including access to exclusive media, contests, members-only message boards and chats, 10 percent off merchandise at ShopJRNation.com, and an annual JR Nation Crew Kit. The exclusive 2008 kit includes a welcome letter from Earnhardt Jr., vinyl banner, license plate frame, decal, zipper pull, collapsible can coolers, soft-sided cooler and membership card all emblazoned with “JR Nation Crew.”

“The new fan club will have cool, interactive features to help give fans a better look into my life both on and off the track,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “The new club will have access to the all-new JR Nation online community that offers the latest announcements, behind-the-scenes multimedia, a members-only message board and chat room, discounts on merchandise at JR Nation and a ton of other features.”

Other Dale Stuff From Around The Web:

Popular Science disects the technology in Dale Jr.’s new race suit.
AMP Energy drink commercials: get ’em while they’re hot.
— The No-Duh Headline of the Week: “A Daytona 500 win for Earnhardt would be huge” (SI.COM)
— Dale’s personal reasons for why having the National Guard as a sponsor means so much. (NASCAR Nuts & Bolts)