Earnhardt Uncertain About Ride Swap
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on March 25, 2014 | 4:19 P.M. EST
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal talked on Twitter about exchanging rides but Earnhardt isn't sure it will happen because they run for different manufacturers. (Photos: Getty Image)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he’d like to swap rides with IndyCar driver Graham Rahal but doesn’t think it’s possible because Rahal drives for a Honda-backed team and Earnhardt is with Chevrolet.
The idea between the two National Guard-sponsored drivers came up in a Twitter exchange they had after Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.
“It’s something I really wanted to do,’’ said Rahal, son of former CART champion Bobby Rahal, during an IndyCar conference call with reporters Tuesday. “I was surprised he responded.’’
After some banter between the two, Earnhardt tweeted to Rahal: “Aight. Lemme do some figurin. I’m down 4 it. I’ll be in touch.’’
Tuesday, Earnhardt doubted they could do it. He said the Honda issue was “more than just a speed bump’’ with making it happen between the two drivers.
“If I wanted to drive an IndyCar, I’m sure I could get with Penske or somebody who owned a Chevy and take a couple of laps somewhere,’’ Earnhardt said. “It would have been fun to do that with Graham because of the relationship of our sponsors and the history in our families.
“I look forward to meeting him one day. I think the fact that he has that relationship with that particular manufacturer is going to make it challenging, if not impossible for me to drive that particular car. I’d like to know what they drive like, so maybe one day. I don’t think I’ll ever race. I have no interest in running the Indy 500.’’
Car owner Rick Hendrick didn’t express any concerns with the possible swap, noting that Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya exchanged rides in 2003 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Montoya drove for Williams BMW.
“I don’t know really if it’s that big of a deal, BMW vs. Chevrolet, Honda vs. Chevrolet,’’ Hendrick said Tuesday. “I haven’t talked to Chevrolet. If (Earnhardt) is really serious about doing it, then we need to talk to them. I’m fine with it.’’
Kurt Busch will attempt to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 this year and will drive for Andretti Autosport, which runs Honda power. Busch is with Chevrolet-backed Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR. He received Chevrolet approval for the move.
Chevrolet declined comment to Motor Racing Network about the possible ride swap.
Rahal said that two drivers with the same sponsors and similar heritage would make for an interesting event.
“Let's see getting Earnhardt and a Rahal, I think the last time those two names were on the same track were the IROC days with my dad,’’ Rahal said. “It would be good to go back out there and see what we could do, have some fun.’’