Clint Bowyer chimes in on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s legacy

Harvick drove for JR Motorsports in NASCAR’s lower series before Stewart Haas Racing moved to Ford. More

Harvick drove for JR Motorsports in NASCAR’s lower series before Stewart Haas Racing moved to Ford. More

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Thursday he's proud of his accomplishments, after Kevin Harvick suggested NASCAR's growth has been hindered because Earnhardt hasn't won enough.

"(Earnhardt) hasn't been anywhere close to being our most successful driver", Harvick said on Tuesday.

Dale Jr. has won the series' Most Popular Driver Award 14 times (2003-16) and has a net worth of approximately $300 million.

"First off, I got a unique type of respect for Harvick that's different from most of the drivers because of his history and most recently with what he's done with JR Motorsports", Earnhardt said during the unveiling of the 2018 Camaro ZL1 Chevrolet will use in Cup next season.

"I have an incredible amount of respect for him (Harvick)", said Earnhardt, 42, at the unveiling of the 2018 NASCAR Chevy Camaro XL1 Cup vehicle in the Motor City.

"I'm sure it's easy to take it a number of ways".

Dale Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver is retiring from competition in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series after this season.

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While plenty of NASCAR fans in JR Nation want Kevin Harvick to apologize to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for blaming him for "stunting" the growth of NASCAR, that's not what Junior wants. "About his comments, some of those comments were hurtful. I hate that's how he feels".

"But I still respect him as a champion and ambassador of the sport", said Earnhardt.

Earnhardt, who in many ways has had to live in the shadow of his seven-time Cup championship-winning father Dale Earnhardt, said he could hold up his head despite the title eluding him.

"I put a lot into this sport, and I know that I might not have met everyone's expectations, but I certainly exceeded my own", Earnhardt said while appearing at Chevrolet's event introducing the Camaro ZL1, a new race auto for next year's NASCAR Cup Series. "I brought something to the table and left a good impact".

Harvick previously drove for the Xfinity Series team Earnhardt co-owns, JR Motorsports, and Earnhardt said Harvick deserves a lot of credit for lifting the organization to greater heights.

"I didn't come here to be the most popular guy". "This is silly, but the way I thought in '97, 'Man, if I could get into an Xfinity vehicle and win just one race, what do I need to do just to say ... that's enough to keep me around?'" "And we answered them honestly, and we answered the questions that they had, and it expanded into a conversation of the opinions and the things that I talked about". "I'm not really known as a great qualifier so maybe over time I've probably put a little less stock into qualifying, but I can tell you that when I saw that we were going to win the pole over the last few seconds of qualifying that it put chills down my body".

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