Skip to content

Rahal “surprised” that Dale Jr. responded to idea of ride swap

Mar 25, 2014, 3:34 PM EST

Firestone 550 - Practice Getty Images

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal certainly knows that a ride swap with fellow National Guard-backed driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. could potentially go down as a big event.

But as the driver of the No. 15 Honda-powered Dallara said this morning in an INDYCAR teleconference, he posed the idea to NASCAR’s most popular driver as simply a matter of having fun.

“I threw that out there as something I really wanted to do,” Rahal said. “I was surprised he responded…Media-wise, for sponsor exposure, it could be tremendous for them. But I also thought it’d be something fun to do.

“I know there’s been a lot of guys that have always expressed interest in jumping in an IndyCar. Obviously, Kurt Busch is going to do that here in the Month of May, but I know Jimmie Johnson and others [have shown interest] so I thought, ‘You know what, we have a tie here now, so let’s see.’”

Rahal and Earnhardt tweeted mutual interest in the idea on Sunday evening following the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, which Rahal attended in person. Since then, the idea has taken off among fans, tracks, and media alike.

In a media event today at Charlotte Motor Speedway that featured Earnhardt driving Elvis Presley’s 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III (the last car that the rock ‘n roll legend ever drove in public) into the track’s media center, his car owner, Rick Hendrick, seemed open to the idea – to a point:

However, Earnhardt himself raised the biggest possible hurdle: The fact that he, a Chevy driver and spokesman, would have to drive Rahal’s Honda.

That said, Kurt Busch is also a Chevy driver in the Sprint Cup Series, and yet he’ll be driving an Andretti Autosport Honda at Indianapolis as part of an attempt at “The Double” – running both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in the same day.

Additionally, Hendrick brought up that the 2003 ride swap between his driver Gordon and then-F1 driver Montoya saw them use different manufacturers.

Granted, Hendrick appears to have misspoken, as Montoya’s F1 ride was a BMW-powered Williams. Still, the point stands – while manufacturers certainly have pride in their own drivers, they can see the big picture with events like this.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR AMERICA: A well-deserved title for Kevin Harvick (VIDEO)

    Nov 21, 2014, 7:00 PM EST

    NASCAR Champions Portraits Getty Images

    Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team had to go through a lot in 2014 to win the Sprint Cup title. NASCAR AMERICA’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: The final pit strategies of the Championship 4 (VIDEO)

    Nov 21, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Credit: Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/MCT Credit: Joe Cavaretta/Sun Sentinel/MCT

    Kevin Harvick’s four-tire call late at Homestead proved to be the difference in his title-clinching victory last weekend. NASCAR AMERICA discuss how pit strategy made an impact.

  3. NASCAR: John Wes Townley to run full-time trucks, part-time XFINITY in 2015

    Nov 21, 2014, 4:48 PM EST

    UNOH 225 Getty Images

    His Athenian Motorsports team will switch to Chevrolet and get Hendrick engines for its dual programs.

  4. Kevin Magnussen not seeing Abu Dhabi as battle for survival at McLaren

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice Getty Images

    Magnussen on his future with McLaren: “I honestly assume that no decision has been made on the management level so far, but I would deny that this race is something of a shoot-out.”

  5. Watch NASCAR America 5 pm ET – Final Scan All 43 – Championship Edition

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    nascar america

    You say you need a NASCAR fix? Well, don’t worry, Friday is the final installment of our NASCAR America – Scan All 43 episodes, entitled “NASCAR America: Scan All 43 – Championship Edition.”

  6. Abu Dhabi GP Paddock Notebook – Friday

    Nov 21, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Lewis Hamilton sent out a statement of intent during practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today, beating Nico Rosberg in both practice sessions.

  7. Kristensen’s retirement leaves a void bigger than just a race seat

    Nov 21, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    FRA-AUTO-LEMANS Getty Images

    Replacing Tom Kristensen will be no easy task at Audi.

  8. Alonso anticipating hardest qualifying of 2014 in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:45 PM EST

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Electrical failure in FP2 robs the Spaniard of some much-needed track time after sunset in Abu Dhabi.

  9. Mercedes drivers confident there is time to be found after Abu Dhabi practice

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:15 PM EST

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Hamilton and Rosberg leaving nothing in reserve as they fight for the F1 drivers’ championship in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

  10. Jimmie Johnson: Kevin Harvick winning Sprint Cup title was “the right thing”

    Nov 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick AP

    The six-time champ says a title victory for Ryan Newman last weekend at Homestead “would have been tough to swallow for the sport.”

  11. Sports car notes: Emerson Fittipaldi to return to racing in Brazil, and more

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:45 PM EST

    2013 Laureus World Sports Awards Nominations Getty Images

    Emerson Fittipaldi to a race a Ferrari F458 Italia in Brazil next week, plus two PWC notes.

  12. GP2: Vandoorne claims fourth straight pole position in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    © GP2 Media © GP2 Media

    McLaren junior driver becomes the first in GP2 history to score four poles in a row.

  13. 2014 F1 championship showdown preview: Nico Rosberg

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRESSER Getty Images

    Part two of the championship profiles sees us take a look at Nico Rosberg’s rise through Formula 1 and to within reach of the world championship. Can he follow in his father’s footsteps and win the title?

  14. GP3: Alex Lynn wins championship after qualifying in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 11:30 AM EST

    © GP3 Media Service © GP3 Media Service

    Red Bull junior driver picks up the championship in Abu Dhabi, and is now targeting a move up to F1 in 2015.

  15. 2014 F1 championship showdown preview: Lewis Hamilton

    Nov 21, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice Getty Images

    In the first half of our articles profiling the championship contenders, we take a look at the leader, Lewis Hamilton, ahead of Sunday’s showdown in Abu Dhabi.

  16. Grosjean handed 20-place grid penalty in Abu Dhabi

    Nov 21, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ABU-DHABI-PRACTICE Getty Images

    Stewards in Abu Dhabi penalize the Frenchman after changes are made to his engine on Friday.

  17. Some good Friday reading from Milwaukee JS: Jimmy Fennig: “Just a racer”

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:45 AM EST

    jimmy fennig Getty Images

    A great read from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Jimmy Fennig as he prepares for semi-retirement.

Video from NASCAR America

Most unexpected event of 2014?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Harvick (1942)
  2. R. Newman (1901)
  3. J. Gordon (1813)
  4. J. Logano (1776)
  5. J. Johnson (1773)
  1. D. Hamlin (1748)
  2. M. Kenseth (1422)
  3. K. Larson (1371)
  4. T. Stewart (1305)
  5. B. Keselowski (1281)