Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr., IndyCar's Graham Rahal talk about ride swap

IndyCar driver Graham Rahal, on his last weekend off before the season starts this weekend in St. Petersburg, lit up Twitter on Sunday when he suggested to NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. that they trade seats for a day — and Earnhardt was interested.

"It turned into this whole crazy firestorm last night, which I half expected but half didn't," Rahal told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday by phone, adding that he got around 1,100 retweets for his initial suggestion and that his public relations representative "got emails from several tracks, offering, 'Hey, we won't charge you, just come out and we'd love to have you.' "

Earnhardt's first Twitter posts about trying an IndyCar on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway seemed skeptical: "Not an oval? You seen me drive a road course?"

But later NASCAR's most popular driver posted: "Lemme do some figurin. I'm down 4 it. I'll be in touch."

Rahal attended Sunday's Sprint Cup race in Fontana, Calif., and saw Jimmie Johnson and former IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, among others. He said his father Bobby was good friends with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and is friends with Earnhardt Jr.'s Sprint Cup team owner, Rick Hendrick.

Plus, Graham Rahal and Earnhardt Jr. share National Guard sponsorship.

"We'll figure it out, if he wants to do it we want to do it," Rahal said.

If a ride swap were to happen at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it would be fitting as both of their fathers won there, Bobby Rahal in the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and Dale Earnhardt in the 1995 Brickyard 400.

NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton did a similar swap for a day in 2011, as did NASCAR's Jeff Gordon and then-F1 driver Juan Montoya several years earlier.

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