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Dale Earnhardt Jr. disputes notion he's stunted NASCAR's growth

Dale Earnhardt Jr. disputes notion he's stunted NASCAR's growth

In his media session Friday at Michigan International Speedway, Earnhardt said he got into NASCAR as a driver because he "didn't want to work for a living", and after he won a few Busch (now Xfinity) Series races in the late 1990s he was surprised and thrilled he'd be able to have a career in the sport.

"The growth in the sport has not reached the levels that it should have because our most popular driver has not been our most successful driver", Harvick said. Despite this, he has earned NASCAR's Most Popular Driver award for 14 straight years, including last season when he missed half the year due to injury.

"I would appreciate a conversation, if we could have a conversation about it", said Dale Jr. of possibility of talking with Harvick.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. disputes notion he's stunted NASCAR's growth
Kevin Harvick says Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s lack of success has 'stunted' NASCAR's popularity

"We still have success today because of that impact that he made at JR Motorsports, so I have an incredible amount of respect for him", said Earnhardt, who is set to retire after this season. "And I didn't take anything that he said the week before personal, either".

He also didn't buy Harvick's claim that he was stunting NASCAR's growth. Even Jimmie Johnson with his seven championships isn't as well-known among casual fans as Earnhardt.

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

Bryce Harper leaves game with apparent knee injury
The Nationals and Giants game spent about three hours in a rain delay prior to the game after having Friday's game rained out. The 24-year-old is as fearsome a hitter as anyone in the sport, reaching the All-Star Game in four of his first five seasons.

Dale Jr. sits 23rd in points and will need a win in the next four races to earn a spot in the playoffs for the right to battle for the series championship during the final 10 races. "About his comments, some of those comments were hurtful".

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

"I hated working for a living". "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?'"

Tech companies lead broad slide in U.S. stocks; oil rises
Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped less than 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.1 percent. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 83 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $48.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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.

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.

After Dale Earnhardt died tragically in the 2001 Daytona 500 while driving for Richard Childress, Harvick was called upon by Childress to start his career with the team and won his first race at Atlanta three weeks later. I think it definitely probably upset some of the veteran guys. "And we answered them honestly, and we answered the questions that they had, and it expanded into a conversation of the opinions and the things that I talked about".

What to watch for in the New York Jets preseason opener
He wasn't erratic, he didn't throw an interception and on most plays, he made smart checkdowns rather than forcing a pass. Alex Tanney replaced Mariota and was sacked by linebacker Julian Stanford on his first play and briefly left the game.


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