Dale Earnhardt Jr. responds to 'hurtful' comments by Kevin Harvick
Dale Earnhardt Jr. responded in a classy way after he heard Kevin Harvick's comments that Junior's popularity "stunted" NASCAR.
Harvick was on his weekly show on SiriusXM's NASCAR channel when he said it was confusing to him that Earnhardt has been the sport's most popular driver, even though he has never won a championship.
"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 said.
Earnhardt heard what Harvick said and revealed those comments were "hurtful."
"I have an incredible amount of respect for him," Earnhardt said, via ESPN.com. "I found some of those comments hurtful. I still respect him as a champion and ambassador for the sport. That's just the way it is, I guess. I hate that's how he feels."
It's interesting that Harvick would have such harsh words about Junior, since he replaced Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the track after he was killed at the Daytona 500 in 2001.
As for the notion that Junior has stunted the growth of NASCAR, he said he hopes that isn't true.
"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," he said.
"I hope that I brought something to the table and left a good impact."