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Chevrolet Not Standing in Way of Earnhardt-Rahal Ride Swap

Chevrolet Not Standing in Way of Earnhardt-Rahal Ride Swap

by March 30, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAr

For motorsports fans who are social-media savvy, chances are that you have heard of a proposed ride swap between NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and IndyCar’s Graham Rahal.

The proposal of the two National Guard-sponsored drivers switching cars was initiated by Rahal on Twitter, who sent this year’s Daytona 500 winner the following tweet after last week’s Auto Club 400 asking if he’d be up for a swap.

@GrahamRahal: Hey @DaleJr want to do a ride swap, you drive my @NationalGuard @IndyCar, I jump in yours!?

Earnhardt was quick to respond to Rahal, sending him a response a mere two minutes later.

@DaleJr: @GrahamRahal @NationalGuard @IndyCar I’d wreck the hell out of that thing. Where should we do this?

Both drivers got to discussing details of where they would like to strap into each other’s cars at, with suggestions of Daytona and Talladega being floated around – the latter being an idea that Earnhardt labelled as crazy. Rahal would offer up the idea of racing the cars around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a suggestion that Earnhardt seemed fine with. Indianapolis’s road course was the home of a car swap between Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003 where Gordon drove Montoya’s Williams Formula One car while Montoya drove Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup car.

There may be one snafu regarding an Earnhardt-Rahal switch though – while the two drivers do share a sponsorship, Earnhardt drives a Chevrolet while Rahal drives a Honda. Earnhardt himself raised concern about the difference in manufacturers at an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday.

“Well, he drives a Honda, which is more than just a speed bump,” Earnhardt said. “If I wanted to drive an Indy car, I’m sure I could get with Penske or somebody who owned a Chevy and take a couple laps somewhere. But it would have been fun to do that with Graham because of the relationship withour sponsor and the history of our families. I look forward to meeting him one day, but I think the fact he has a relationship with a different manufacturer is going to make it challenging – if not impossible – for me to drive that particular car.”

Rahal, on the other hand, is not concerned with himself driving a Chevrolet despite his Rahal-Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara being powered by a Honda engine.

“We aren’t promoting Honda and we aren’t promoting Chevrolet,” Rahal said. “We’re promoting National Guard, so I think it should be about the sponsor and there shouldn’t be an issue with the cars.”

Chevrolet’s Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsport, Jim Campbell, has stated that the manufacturer is not opposed to such an event taking place.

“If we get a proposal, we’ll take a look at it and we’ll look at it with an open set of eyes. The rest is hypothetical,” Campbell said. “Broadly speaking about any Chevy driver that is currently on our roster, if they decided to go race in another category or series, of course we’d love to see them in Chevys. There’s no doubt about that. In some cases it works out like that, and in some cases it doesn’t.”

Kurt Busch, a Chevy driver in the Sprint Cup Series, will be jumping over to IndyCar to attempt to make the Indianapolis 500 in May in a Honda-powered Andretti Autosport machine. Busch initially tested for Andretti last year when the team received their engines from Chevrolet. Campbell noted that while Chevrolet officials would have preferred that Busch attempt the Indy 500 in a Chevrolet-powered car driven by Chip Ganassi Racing, Team Penske, KV Racing Technology, or Ed Carpenter Racing, they realize that these kinds of race deals take a long time to iron out and gave Busch their blessing to race a Honda.

With Chevrolet not standing in Earnhardt’s way of participating in a ride swap and with Rahal ready to go, the only thing truly standing in the way of a swap at the moment is Earnhardt himself.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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