Dale Earnhardt Jr. is rooting for Royals manager Ned Yost in the playoffs

(Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost became friends with Dale Earnhardt in the 1980s when the two went on a hunting trip together. Since that trip, the friendship blossomed, and Yost would attend races with Earnhardt.

After Earnhardt was killed in a crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, Yost's NASCAR allegiance shifted to Dale Earnhardt Jr. In February, Yost said he stayed up late to watch Earnhardt Jr. win his second Daytona 500 in February, one of his three wins this season.

"I read a couple of articles where he was real pleased with how we did in Daytona," Earnhardt Jr. said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "Knowing his friendship with my dad, it's pretty cool that he is watching me. That meant a really good deal to me. He is a genuine guy with a genuine appreciation and friendship with my father. It means a lot to me that he follws me still to this day, and I think that I want to see him do well as much.

"I have seen him in different circles. He has been on iRacing a little bit over the last several years, seen him on there. Just different things, but we don't really have consistent contact with each other, but there is a mutual respect for sure."

iRacing is a virtual driving simulation site where users can race each other. Many NASCAR drivers use it to stay sharp and have fun during the week. The thought of Yost with a computer and steering wheel possibly racing professional drivers is fantastic. However, we're struggling to come up with a racing parallel for a sacrifice bunt. Is it always taking four tires on a pit stop while the best call would be to take two tires or simply fuel to ensure you stay near the front of the pack?

As Yost's Royals are in the playoffs for the first time in 29 years and have a 1-0 lead in the American League Division Series over the Los Angeles Angels, there's a parallel with Earnhardt Jr.'s season. Junior's three wins this year are the most he's had in a season since 2004. It's his best championship shot since that season, when he won six races and was in the hunt for the title until he was docked 25 points after saying a four-letter word in his post-race interview after a win at Talladega. He finished 33rd in consecutive races a short time later.

Earnhardt Jr. isn't the only driver rooting for Yost this weekend either. Carl Edwards, a native of Columbia, Mo., threw out the first pitch at Kauffman Stadium earlier this season.

"I spent a bunch of time with Ned Yost and became a fan," Edwards said.

So much of a fan that Yost was scheduled to be at Sunday's race in Kansas City as a guest of Edwards. He won't be in attendance, as there's a little conflict in the form of ALDS Game 3 across the city that evening.

"We actually had an invite for Ned Yost to be out at the race track and we're glad that he can't because of all his success," Edwards said.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!