Earnhardt hurt by Harvick comments

Pauline Gross
August 13, 2017

Earnhardt is NASCAR's 14-time most popular driver and has had an up-and-down 18-year career that's featured 26 Cup Series wins but also several seasons where he was winless.

The driver has always been NASCAR's most popular driver and accounts for the most merchandise sales on a weekly basis, said Chris Williams, vice president of trackside sales for Fanatics. He now sits in 26th place in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series without a win, as this is expected to be his last season.

"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. "I know Kevin and have known him for a long time and I feel like it would be great to sit down and discuss what he said and what he meant, find some common ground".

"It's really confusing to me", Harvick said.

Harvick said that negatively impacted the sport, adding he thinks Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson should be the most popular driver as the most successful active driver on the track. "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 didn't come in here thinking I was going to win seven championships", Earnhardt said.

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Earnhardt responded to Harvick's remarks Thursday, saying the comments were "hurtful".

Harvick said he had just given his honest opinion in response to a fan question on social media about Earnhardt's performance in his final season of Cup competition. "I found some of those comments hurtful".

Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, won the pole for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 with a lap of 203.097 miles-per-hour in the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford with Penske teammate Joey Logano (203.063) joining him on the front row. Dale Earnhardt Sr. became who he was, to Harvick, because he was grinding every week and won seven championships.

"I hope that I brought something to the table and left a good impact".

Harvick previously drove for the Xfinity Series team Earnhardt co-owns, JR Motorsports, and Earnhardt said Harvick deserves a lot of credit for lifting the organization to greater heights. "Looks unbelievable, and I know it's going to perform very well". "Selfishly, I'm a auto salesman, and I've got a lot of them in the lot". "This is silly, but the way I thought in '97, 'Man, if I could get into an Xfinity vehicle and win just one race, what do I need to do just to say ... that's enough to keep me around?'"

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