Buddy, can you spare a ride? Dale Jr. leaves Newman at tarmac

Dale Earnhardt Jr. can laugh about it now, but Ryan Newman probably didn't think it was too funny that Junior accidentally left Newman behind at the airport on Friday.

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When Dale Earnhardt Jr. left North Carolina Friday morning to fly up to Michigan International Speedway, he forgot something very important: Fellow driver Ryan Newman, who had planned to hitch a ride on Earnhardt’s flight.

"This is what happened, this is the honest truth," Earnhardt said after arriving at MIS Friday morning.  "Tuesday he (Newman) asked me if he could get a ride to the race track, which is common for drivers to do that.  We were leaving at 8:30 a.m. That is what it said on my calendar. Then since Tuesday we have added some media to this morning, did a couple of things out front (of the track). My PR guy Mike Hoag moved takeoff time to 8 a.m. I didn’t know about it. I didn’t look at my calendar."

And that’s when the trouble started.

"When I got up this morning I didn’t look at the clock, I just got in the shower, went downstairs, got in the car and drove to the airport and got on the plane. I forgot about Ryan," said Earnhardt. "Even if we were taking off at 8:30 a.m. and he wasn’t there I probably would have left him. Yeah, he should have texted me last night. I think he got a ride. That was unfortunate for sure, but it happens."


We were supposed to leave at 8:30 and I showed up before 8:30 and his truck was there and the airplane was gone.

Ryan Newman, on Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Fortunately for Newman, he was able to catch a ride with Dale Jarrett and made it to the track in time for practice.

And Newman was understanding about it afterward.

"I talked to Junior Monday night and asked if I could bum a ride up here because my wife and the kids are coming up tomorrow on my plane, and it just made sense if I could just jump a ride instead of sending a plane back and forth," Newman said. "He said, ‘Yeah, no problem.’ I double-checked and made sure that we were 8:30 Friday morning and everything was good because it was pretty much the last ride that I thought was going to go out to come up here. It was convenient and we were flying into the same airport and we were supposed to leave at 8:30 and I showed up before 8:30 and his truck was there and the airplane was gone.

"So, I knew I was in trouble at that point. I jumped in my truck and drove across the airport, literally, and happened to see Dale Jarrett’s plane sitting there. I walked in and Dale wasn’t there yet, but his pilots were. And I said, ‘I’m hoping you guys are going to Michigan, right?’ And they said yes and so I bummed a ride. It was extravagantly convenient and lucky at the same time."