When Newman didn't send a reminder on Thursday night that he was coming, Earnhardt forgot about him when he and his group departed Friday morning, leaving Newman stranded at the Statesville, N.C., airport.
Newman caught a ride with NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett on Friday and made it to the track in time for Sprint Cup Series practice.
During his media availability on Friday, Earnhardt explained the mix-up:
"On Tuesday, (Newman) asked me if he could take a ride to the race track, which is common for drivers to do. “We were leaving at 8:30 (a.m.). That’s what it said on my calendar. Since Tuesday, we added some media (obligations) ... so my PR guy Mike Hoag moved take-off time to 8 o’clock," Earnhardt said.
“I didn’t know about it. I didn’t look at my calendar. When I got up this morning, I didn’t look at the clock. I just got in the shower and went downstairs and got in the car, drove to the airport and got in the plane, and I forgot about Ryan. Even if we were taking off at 8:30 and he wasn’t there, I probably would have left him. He should have texted me last night. I think he got a ride. That was unfortunate, for sure. It happens.’’
Newman said he was lucky to find someone else who hadn’t left for Michigan as yet.