Earnhardt leaves Newman momentarily stranded

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) Ryan Newman made it to Michigan, no thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Newman thought he had arranged a ride on Earnhardt's plane Friday morning. The problem was that Earnhardt forgot about that and left Newman at the Statesville Regional Airport in North Carolina.

''It was just an honest mistake, I think,'' Newman said. ''He forgot. I don't think it was by any means on purpose.''

Newman said he arrived before the scheduled 8:30 a.m. departure, but the plane was already gone. He was able to find former NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett's plane and get a ride on that.

Newman was at Michigan International Speedway in time for his scheduled media availability Friday afternoon, and well before the start of qualifying for Sunday's 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Earnhardt says the takeoff time for his plane was moved up by 30 minutes because of media commitments.

''I forgot about Ryan. Even if we were taking off at 8:30 a.m. and he wasn't there I probably would have left him,'' Earnhardt said. ''That was unfortunate for sure, but it happens.''

Earnhardt seemed sheepish about his mistake on Twitter.

''Weekend started off on wrong foot. Left (at)RyanJNewman at the airport. Forgot he was riding with us. Imma pay for this one,'' he wrote. ''I'm hoping and praying that the reason (at)RyanJNewman isn't responding to my text are because he is at 40,000 feet. Please be at 40,000 feet.''

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