Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to meet with Kevin Harvick after Harvick’s comments regarding Earnhardt’s popularity and lack of overall success “stunting” NASCAR’s growth and Earnhardt’s comments on driver salaries that Harvick didn’t agree with.
Earnhardt was asked Friday at Michigan International Speedway if he thought he was owed an apology from Harvick.
“I’d appreciate a conversation, if we could have a conversation about it,” Earnhardt said. “I’ve known him for a long time. It’d be great to sit down and just discuss what he said, what he meant. We could even talk about my conversation from the Glen that he didn’t like. Just sort of find some common ground.”
Earlier in the day Harvick defended his opinion to ESPN and The Associated Press, saying it was “nothing personal.” It was a day after Earnhardt said Harvick’s comments Tuesday on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show were “hurtful,” but that he still respected Harvick.
“He had his opinions the week before on driver salaries and driver ages and those things, and I don’t know that anybody in the garage agreed with those, either,” Harvick said. “There’s definitely opinions on a lot of things, but it’s nothing personal. And I didn’t take anything that he said the week before personal, either.”
Harvick said he had gave his honest opinion in response to a fan question on social media about Earnhardt’s performance in his final season of Cup competition. Harvick addressed how Earnhardt’s farewell tour had not resulted in a surge of fan attendance, likely due to the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s poor performance this season.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver then criticized Earnhardt’s popularity and success in relation to seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson‘s for negatively impacting NASCAR.
“(Earnhardt) hasn’t been anywhere close to being our most successful driver,” Harvick said on Tuesday. “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, this huge outreach of being able to reach these places 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.”
Earnhardt, NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver, refuted Harvick’s take after Chevrolet’s announcement of its 2018 Cup car in Detroit.
“I certainly hope that’s not the case,” Earnhardt said “I put a lot into this sport, and I know that I might not have met everyone’s expectations, but I certainly exceeded my own and I’m super proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.”