Kevin Harvick said comments on Dale Earnhardt Jr. were 'nothing personal'

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2017

"The growth in [NASCAR] has not reached the levels that it should have because our most popular driver has not been our most successful driver", Harvick said.

Earnhardt, NASCAR's 14-time most popular driver, refuted Harvick's take after Chevrolet's announcement of its 2018 Cup auto in Detroit.

On Friday, Clint Bowyer, who drives with Harvick at Stewart-Haas Racing, talked positively about the legacy Earnhardt would leave behind when he retires as a Monster Energy Cup Series competitor at the end of the season.

Harvick told ESPN on Friday that he wasn't personally attacking Earnhardt.

While giving actual things is cool and all, Earnhardt said he doesn't exactly have room in his house for everything, and he'd prefer tracks give charitable gifts in his honor instead, like the jukebox Kentucky Speedway gave a children's hospital or the service puppies Sonoma Raceway named after him and his wife, Amy.

"I'm sure it's easy to take it a number of ways". "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".

Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson were among the drivers on hand for Chevy's event - an outdoor ceremony in downtown Detroit.

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

A two-time Xfinity Series champion, Earnhardt is in his final full-time season as a Cup Series driver.

Earnhardt, who in many ways has had to live in the shadow of his seven-time Cup championship-winning father Dale Earnhardt, said he could hold up his head despite the title eluding him. "But I found some of those comments hurtful. I hate that that's how he feels".

"I'm super-proud of what I've been able to accomplish, and I hope that I brought something to the table and left a good impact", Earnhardt added. "Looks fantastic, and I know it's going to perform very well". "Any time we did anything really big, like win the Xfinity Series championships or the Daytona 500s, even to this day it's hard for me to believe that it happened to me".

"I didn't come here to be the most popular guy". I said on my podcast that if you've got a healthy program with great corporate sponsorship and great manufacturer support you should be able to control your worth and be able to get the kind of deal you want. "This is silly, but the way I thought in '97, 'Man, if I could get into an Xfinity auto and win just one race, what do I need to do just to say ... that's enough to keep me around?'"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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