Dale Earnhardt Jr. Puts His Banana-Mayo Controversy to Good Use

A few days ago, NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. sent the Internet into overdrive when he tweeted a photo of his “favorite sandwich,” featuring bananas and — no, not peanut butter, like Elvis Presley — mayonnaise. (Earnhardt has a deal with Hellmann’s.)

“I swear it’s delicious,” Earnhardt wrote. Some people called it “gross.” Others backed Earnhardt, reporting that either they or someone they know (their mother, father, husband) loved the strange sandwich combo too. Some fans suggested improvements: “YES!!! Love it!! Gotta add peanut butter and pickles though!!” wrote one Earnhardt supporter.

Initially, Earnhardt seemed to take the response in stride. “The banana mayo sandwich combo reaction is always so passionate,” he wrote, suggesting that adding peanut butter (a la Elvis) was “always an option.” Combining pickles and PB, however, was a move the champion race-car driver labeled “brave.”

Eventually, with no sign of the great banana-mayo controversy dying down, Earnhardt tweeted, “What’s more bizarre? The sandwich or the reaction to the sandwich? Insane!” (His own fiancee, he disclosed, wasn’t a fan of the sandwich.)

Finally, Earnhardt decided to take all the attention and put it to a good cause.

In a funny YouTube video (in which Mike Davis, the brand director for Earnhardt and JR Motorsports, claims everyone at the company eats bananas and mayo all day, every day and in every way imaginable), Earnhardt announces that he has set up a web page on which people can donate money for the nonprofit organization Blessings in a Backpack, which helps feed hungry kids; he has promised to match up to $50,000 of donations made through April 23.

“That way, if you don’t like the sandwich or not, we can all agree that something good came out of it,” Earnhardt says in the video.

Oh, and in case you were wondering: “No, I don’t expect the Blessings in a Backpack folks to pack banana-and-mayonnaise sandwiches in those bags,” Earnhardt assured in a press release announcing his charitable move “Unless, of course, they want to.”

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