Stand down Junior Nation, because your favorite driver isn’t feuding with one of the hottest young stars in NASCAR.
Our not so long NASCAR nightmare is over. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Blaney are back on speaking terms, and presumably sharing a few cold ones again.
While things have been heated a few times in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season between Junior and Blaney, both men are apparently willing to put their run-ins behind them for now. Earnhardt addressed the issue on his most recent episode of “The Dale Jr. Download” podcast, making it clear that he and Blaney spoke at Texas Motor Speedway.
Here’s what Junior had to say, via NASCAR.com:
"“Me and Blaney patched things up in the bus lot this weekend. We talked about trying to run races without running into each other so we can get back to drinking beer together.”"
Beer has been a common theme in the ongoing mini-drama between the two men, one made more interesting because Blaney rents a house on Earnhardt’s property. When Earnhardt learned that it was the No. 21 that spun him at Martinsville, one of the comments he made over the radio to the 88 crew was, “no more free beer.”
Yet it was Blaney who had to apologize first in 2017, after he was heard referring to Earnhardt Jr. by a certain four-letter word on his radio at Phoenix. Clearly, the duo has some work to do in regard to giving each other the proper racing space, though it seems they are willing to do so going forward.
Earnhardt also told NASCAR.com how impressed he was that the 23-year old Blaney, who is currently sixth in Cup Series points, is doing what he’s doing for a single-car team.
"“It’s not surprising for me to see him run good, but I do have to remind myself that he’s in a Wood Brothers car ’cause that’s pretty incredible for that team, that car to be relevant again in the sport,” Earnhardt said. “It’s great for NASCAR.”"
It’s funny how days when two drivers both are running well have a tendency to bring mini-feuds to an end. Junior grabbed his first top-five finish of the season at Texas Motor Speedway, while Blaney led 148 laps and surely would have been in contention for a win had it not been for some unfortunate timing in terms of pit stops and cautions.
in any case, fans will just be content to know that Junior is back on track in terms of performance and isn’t sweating a few mishaps with a rising NASCAR star. And one would imagine they actually will be sharing a cold beer together soon and hopefully laughing about everything that went down.