Dale Earnhardt Jr. is beloved in NASCAR. He didn’t win the most popular driver award 15 years in a row by accident. Not surprisingly, when another driver says something negative about him, it becomes news. That’s what happened in 2017 with Kevin Harvick.
The 2014 Cup Series champ made a bold statement on his radio show at the time, suggesting that the two-time Daytona 500 winner had stunted NASCAR’s growth because he was the most popular driver but not the most successful. Many fans considered those remarks disrespectful. The pair have never officially discussed those comments. That will change this week as Harvick is scheduled to appear on the season finale of the Dale Jr. Download.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces Kevin Harvick as guest for 2021 podcast season finale
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had a memorable year on the Dale Jr. Download. With the guests dictating the direction of each show, this year it got personal on a couple of occasions as they dove deep into the Earnhardt family history with brother Kerry and uncle Danny in the spotlight.
One of the more memorable episodes came early in the summer when someone Earnhardt had vowed would never appear on the show appeared on the show. Jimmy Spencer came on and discussed his controversial comments regarding the July 2001 Daytona race, in which he questioned the legitimacy of Earnhardt’s victory.
While awkward at times, the two former drivers talked it out and provided some closure on the situation.
With Earnhardt announcing Kevin Harvick as the guest on the final podcast episode of 2021, there’s that same vibe that the two might have an opportunity to revisit 2017 and find some sort of closure.
Kevin Harvick makes disrespectful comments about Earnhardt in 2017
In 2017, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final full-time season in the Cup Series, Kevin Harvick said during his weekly show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that other sports are successful because their most popular athletes are also among the most successful.
“For me, I believe that Dale Jr. has had a big part in kind of 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,” Harvick candidly said.
“I know those aren’t the most popular comments, but those are real-life facts that you look up and see on the stat sheet. Imagine how popular he would have been if he won two or three championships?”
Earnhardt admitted later that the remarks were “hurtful.”
Expect conversation to also explore Harvick’s most recent controversy
While most podcast listeners expect the two to address the 2017 comments, there’s also a much more recent Harvick controversy that NASCAR fans and Earnhardt have expressed their opinions about this season. The feud with Chase Elliott was one of the main playoff storylines and a hot-button topic during multiple episodes.
Days after it happened, Earnhardt was quite vocal about the whole situation and didn’t speak highly of Harvick’s business manager for his behavior during the initial conflict in Bristol.
Whether it’s talking about the business manager, the feud itself with Elliott, or the 2017 comments, Harvick’s appearance should produce some interesting conversation and end the year on a memorable note.
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