“I Though He Was Going to Whoop My A**”- Dale Earnhardt Jr Calls Out Ryan Newman As He Reminisces Harsh Rivalry

Published 11/14/2023, 4:43 AM EST

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Rivalries play a crucial role in bringing out the best in any athlete. The case is no different for NASCAR drivers. NASCAR is a highly competitive sport and without rivalries gurgling in it, it would not be as thrilling as it is today. Being one of the biggest names in the sport, Dale Earnhardt Jr too has had his share of rivalries on and off the track.

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Perhaps the biggest rivalry that the Hall of Famer had during his days as a driver was with veteran speedster Ryan Newman. And recently, Junior shed light on how the “Rocketman” pulled the same trick twice on Dale Earnhardt Jr and how that led to Junior, wrecking him twice.

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Back in Martinsville this year, someone had asked Ryan Newman who he has had the toughest time racing against on short tracks. Ryan Newman said it was Dale Junior who posed the biggest threat to him on short tracks. This might come off as a surprise to NASCAR fans, as Dale Earnhardt Jr doesn’t really bear the reputation of being a wrecking ball.

As the curtains to a recent Kenny Wallace Show episode parted, the 60-year-old ex-driver was curious too. He couldn’t believe how Dale Earnhardt Jr could be notorious enough for Newman to consider him a rival in NASCAR’s short tracks. Dale Earnhardt Jr, however, calmed Kenny Wallace down and explained why Newman might have felt so.


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Back in the early 2000s, there was an instance when Dale Earnhardt Jr and Ryan Newman were racing each other at Atlanta Motor Speedway and that’s where the confusion started. Dale Junior has the innate ability to ride the high line to make speed, and that’s what he was doing. “Ain’t many people got up to the top of the racetrack at that point in time and I’m up there flying. When you come off the top of turn 2 at Atlanta in 2003 (and) the guys run the bottom, you’re gonna be about 10 miles an hour faster,” said Junior.

Unfortunately, Ryan Newman wouldn’t let Dale Junior continue packing speed into his machine seamlessly. He veered from the bottom of the track up to the top lane and pulled up in front of Junior’s #88 car. There’s no way Dale Earnhardt Jr would have gotten past that situation without wrecking Newman. “You got to stop,” said Junior. “You’re going 10 miles and hour faster and you got this incredible run off the top of the racetrack and you just gotta stop or go to the inside and I’m like, I don’t like that Ryan.”

As a result, Junior rammed Newman in his bumper and spun him out. After the race, however, Junior was a little worried that Newman, who is a little bigger than Junior, would take it out on him. Junior admitted, “I thought he was going to whoop my a** when I saw him at the driver’s motor coach lot after the race. But he came up to me and I said, ‘Man, I gotta run off the top, why the hell would you pull in front of me? Just leave me the outside lane!’ And he said, ‘Why don’t you go (to) the inside?'”

But that was not the end of it. Dale Earnhardt Jr and Ryan Newman got involved in another incident just in the next race at Atlanta and, interestingly, the exact same thing repeated itself. The two-time Xfinity Series champion exclaimed, “We get back there to the very next race at Atlanta and he does the same damn thing… I mean, it was a carbon copy.”

“And I jacked him up, spun him around again. And so, I think those two moments may have imprinted on him that I was aggressive in nature,” added the 15-time most popular driver.

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However, the exchange between Newman and Junior was not just limited to the track. Another hilarious incident unfolded in 2014. And here’s what happened!

Dale Earnhardt Jr left Ryan Newman back at the airport

NASCAR drivers travel to different parts of the country every week, to the same destinations. Hence, it’s not uncommon for drivers to plan their trips together. It so happened that Dale Earnhardt Jr and Ryan Newman had arranged a trip together to Michigan. To the utter despair of Newman, Junior boarded the plane leaving Newman stranded at the airport.

Midway through the journey, Dale Earnhardt Jr remembered. He then tweeted, “Weekend started off on wrong foot. Left @RyanJNewman at the airport. Forgot he was riding with us. Imma pay for this one”


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Junior soon followed up with another hilarious update, saying, “I’m hoping and praying that the reason @RyanJNewman isn’t responding to my text are because he is at 40,000 feet. Please be at 40,000 feet”


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Luckily, Newman wasn’t stranded, as Dale Jarrett had a plane already lined up. It might sound funny today, but back in the day, it was definitely something to laugh about, for Ryan Newman. No wonder he considers Dale Earnhardt Jr a menace.

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Written by:

Soumyadeep Saha


One take at a time

It is the unpredictability of the sport that probably intrigues me the most. There was a time when I knew very little about NASCAR. But after I watched the 2011 Ford 400 where Tony Stewart defeated Carl Edwards in a tie-breaker, there has been no going back for me.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath




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