Manufacturer conflicts could preserve Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of Indy car: Graham Rahal and Earnhardt tweeted about possible auto swap

Graham Rahal and Earnhardt tweeted about attainable car swap

By: Jenna Fryer, The Related Press on March 26, 2014

The Earnhardt name is closely associated with Chevrolet, which could prove problematic in a potential car swap.

LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – The Earnhardt name is closely linked with Chevrolet, which could prove problematic in a likely auto swap.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Tuesday he needs to swap race cars with Graham Rahal, but believes it won’;t be feasible since they drive for rival manufacturers.

The 2 drivers are sponsored by Army National Guard this season. Rahal reached out to Earnhardt on Twitter after Sunday’;s NASCAR race at Fontana, proposing they swap cars in an exhibition.

But Earnhardt drives a Chevrolet in NASCAR, and Rahal’;s automobile in IndyCar is a Honda. Simply because Chevy and Honda are direct rivals in IndyCar, and Earnhardt is so closely associated with Chevrolet, he said he isn’;t going to think the swap is doable.

“Nicely, he drives a Honda, which is much more than just a pace bump,” Earnhardt explained for the duration of an look at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “If I needed to drive an Indy automobile, I am confident I could get with Penske or somebody who owned a Chevy and get a couple laps someplace. But it would have been fun to do that with Graham simply because of the partnership with our sponsor and the background of our families.

“I look forward to meeting him a single day, but I believe the reality he has a connection with a distinct producer is going to make it challenging — if not extremely hard — for me to drive that specific auto.”

Rick Hendrick, Earnhardt’;s crew proprietor, was in favor of a swap so lengthy as it was just a test session. Hendrick is close friends with Rahal’;s father, Bobby, the owner of Rahal’;s IndyCar group.

“I feel if he wants to do that, it really is fine. Not race, but get out and just perform,” Hendrick said. “Bobby is a great friend of mine, and I’;ve recognized him for a extended time and I feel people kind of issues are great for our sport and for the open-wheel guys, also.

“We have the exact same sponsors, so it all type of performs.”

As for the producer conflict, Hendrick was not positive. He noted that Jeff Gordon swapped cars with Juan Pablo Montoya when Montoya was in Formula A single, and Tony Stewart swapped automobiles with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton.

“I never know truly if it’;s that big of a deal, BMW vs. Chevrolet, Honda vs. Chevrolet,” Hendrick explained. “I haven’;t talked to Chevrolet. If [Earnhardt] is actually severe about doing it, then we require to talk to them. I’;m fine with it.”

Rahal mentioned Tuesday he didn’;t see a dilemma with the competing makers.

“We are not advertising Honda and we are not marketing Chevrolet,” he explained. “We’;re advertising Nationwide Guard, so I consider it need to be about the sponsor and there shouldn’;t be an concern with the automobiles.”

Rahal also stated he was just throwing out the notion on Twitter to Earnhardt soon after Rahal attended Sunday’;s race. His Indy auto will have the exact same stylized variety as Earnhardt’;s does in NASCAR, per the Guard’;s request, and he had previously mentioned he’;d like to companion with Earnhardt on outdoors projects.

“It truly is anything I genuinely needed to do. I was surprised he responded,” he mentioned. “Of program, I felt with the National Guard that it could potentially I would say occur. Media-sensible, for sponsor publicity, I believe it would be incredible for them. But I also considered it would be one thing that would be entertaining to do.

“Let’;s see getting Earnhardt and a Rahal, I think the final time people 2 names were on the exact same track have been the IROC days with my dad. It would be very good to go back out there and see what we could do, have some exciting.”

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