Earnhardt visits `Handy Manny' prime-time special

Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., waits by his car before practice for Sunday's NASCAR Nationwide series Scotts Turf Builder 300 auto race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., Saturday, March 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

March 20, 2010 7:35:01 PM PDT
The children's animated TV series "Handy Manny Big Race" is going prime time Saturday night with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR star Earnhardt voices the character of Chase Davis, who steps in to help Manny compete in the Wood Valley 500 auto race. The special, debuting at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday on the Disney Channel, stars Wilmer Valderrama as the voice of Manny.

Earnhardt said he decided to participate in "Handy Manny" because his 4-year-old niece is a fan of the show. The Disney Channel series is designed to teach preschoolers about working together and problem-solving.

The "Handy Manny" special also features a new song performed by Lance Bass, who voices the character of Elliot.

Valderrama, who describes himself as a "huge" car fan and races as a hobby, said he was delighted that Earnhardt agreed to lend his voice to a "Handy Manny" character.

"I have a lot of respect for that sport," Valderrama said, adding that Earnhardt's participation could introduce the series to a new set of families.

A music video of "One Step at a Time," the song performed by Bass and Valderrama in the special, is online at Disney.com. The "Handy Manny" series airs weekdays at 9 a.m. EDT and on weekends at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. EDT as part of Disney Channel's programming block for preschoolers.