Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still not over Kevin Harvick’s comments from last summer, and doesn’t believe he will be for quite some time.
Wednesday morning, Earnhardt was asked on “The Dan Patrick” show if he has any lasting feuds or if things ever got personal between drivers. While the former Hendrick Motorsports driver said no to the feud, he then brought up Harvick’s comments from August.
“That stuff will stick, I think, for a really long time,” said Earnhardt. “That bothered me pretty bad.”
It was during one of his “Happy Hours” show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Harvick said NASCAR’s popularity had not reached the levels it should because the most popular driver, Earnhardt, was not the most successful driver.
“When you look at other sports, and you look at basketball and you look at football and you look at their most popular [athletes], they’re also right up there on the top of the list as their most successful,” said Harvick. “So, for me, I believe Dale Jr. has had a big part in stunting the growth of NASCAR because he’s got these legions of fans and this huge outreach of being able to reach different places that none of us have the possibility to reach, but he’s won nine races in 10 years at Hendrick Motorsports and hasn’t been able to reach outside of that.
“I know those aren’t the most popular comments, but those are real life facts that you look up and see on the stat sheet. Imagine how popular he’d be if he had won two or three championships?”
When a social media firestorm broke out because of the comments, Harvick explained he was answering a fan question about what Earnhardt could do to be successful in his final season. That then led to a conversation about the differences between Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon’s (2015) final year. It was not a “personal knock” on Earnhardt, said Harvick.
When asked by Dan Patrick if he ever had Harvick explain his thoughts, Earnhardt said no.
“I think that he at that point was intentionally trying to dig at me,” Earnhardt said. “Getting him to explain it wouldn’t have made me feel any better because I know it was a personal dig. So, it just is what it is.”