Dale Earnhardt Jr. found himself on fellow Sprint Cup driver Danica Patrick’s bad side at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday. After being plagued by brake problems throughout the race, Earnhardt accidentally ran into Patrick with just 60 laps to go, putting her into the wall. She shared some choice words over the team radio, and retaliated by bumping the back of the No. 88 car as they headed onto pit road.
NASCAR driver Danica Patrick unleashes a foul mouthful on fellow racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. https://t.co/Bu3y9sAdJS
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) July 13, 2015
According to ESPN, Dale Jr. said his brakes “got worse and worse and worse, and I probably shouldn’t have been racing as hard as I was when we ran into the back of Danica.”
He went on to explain as hard as he tried, there was nothing he could do to avoid the contact. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fully aware of the media attention the incident would bring, saying he does not like running into Danica for that very reason.
“But I went into that corner and mashed the brakes to the floor. I pumped it three times all the way to the floor and then ran into her. There wasn’t anything I could do. It sucks. I don’t like running into Danica because it gets a little too much attention, but I’m sorry for that.”
While Dale Jr. says he thinks he has a “pretty good friend” in Danica Patrick, and the pair will be able to “talk it out,” he was a little puzzled by her behavior on the track. He said they had no previous issues to hash out that would have made her a possible target. USA Today reports Danica was made aware of Earnhardt’s brake problems, but that didn’t diffuse her temper. Her response was that he should have picked another lane.
“I mean, as hard as I hit her, what the h*** did she think I was doing? Trying to wreck her? We ain’t got no problem. It’s not like we were having a problem out on the racetrack with her. It’s not like I just drew her name out of a hat and decided she was the one I was going to run into tonight.”
Danica Patrick had nothing to say to reporters after the race before making her brisk exit. The race report on her official website states she “finished 34th after getting caught up in a late-race accident not of her making.”
Dale Earnhardt, who finished 21st, said he understands “[i]t’s hard not to (get upset and retaliate) if you are in her shoes.” He adds Danica Patrick “will chill out,” and he’s “not too worried about it.” Fans will find out if he’s right next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
[Image via Dale Earnhardt Jr. Official Website]