After getting tapped from behind by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Kentucky Speedway last night and radioing over an expletive-laden rant, Danica Patrick tapped him back as they entered pit lane. Her crew tried to explain that Dale Jr. was having brake issues all night, but she wouldn’t have it. Nope! Not an excuse.

Earnhardt was struggling with his brakes all night when he came up behind Danica Patrick’s car and couldn’t slow down enough as they were entering a turn. Patrick hit the wall and bounced back into the infield grass.

“Just uh, didn’t have any brakes,” Earnhardt radioed back in.

Danica wasn’t happy about this little punt, so when both she and Earnhardt came into the pits, she gave him a little hate-tap.

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The commentators at the time speculated that Danica didn’t know about Dale Jr.’s brake problem, but her crew certainly did. They let her know as cars were circlulating under the safety car that the tap brought out, but she still felt as if there were ways Earnhardt could have avoided punting her back bumper.

“Fuckin’ 88, did he fuckin’ hit me?” she asked over the radio.

“Oh yeah, he said he didn’t have any brakes,” her crew radioed back. “We’ll see.”

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“Go fuck yourself, I mean, really?” she radioed back. “If you didn’t have any brakes, why would you drive in underneath me? What’s your—weren’t you thinkin’ about that, maybe the corner before that?”

Earnhardt was similarly frustrated.

“I guess, what’s gonna happen out here with no brakes on a fuckin’ race car?” he radioed in. “I don’t even know why we’re fuckin’ out here. I come all the way into the back straight and all the way into the corner, [the brakes went] all the way to the floor.”

Despite her crew’s explanations, she wouldn’t have it. “You’d think he’d pick another lane, maybe,” she said.

She didn’t cool down much over the rest of the race, either. According to NBC Sports, Danica slammed her helmet on top of her car after the race was over. She stormed away in the opposite direction from Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pits, pausing briefly to have a chat with team co-owner Tony Stewart, who seemed to be trying to calm her down. Regardless, she still wasn’t available for media interviews after the race, which is unusual for a NASCAR driver.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried to explain his side of the spat with his former teammate after the race in calmer terms to NBC Sports:

I probably shouldn’t have been racing as hard as I was when we run into the back of Danica. But I went into the corner, mashed the brakes to the floor, pumped it three times and then ran into her. Wasn’t nothing I can do.

It sucks. I don’t like running into Danica because it gets a little bit too much attention. But I’m sorry for that.

Earnhardt’s crew managed to fix his brakes during their stop, allowing him to get a 21st place finish. Patrick finished 34th, dropping further into the standings.

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Earnhardt explained to NBC Sports that he thinks that everything will be fine after Danica chills out a bit:

I imagine she was not [happy]. I mean what am I supposed to say other than the truth? We didn’t have any brakes going into the corner. I know better than to run into her because it gets so much attention. There wasn’t nothing I could do. I mean as hard as I hit her, what the hell did she think I was doing trying to wreck her? We ain’t got no problem. It’s not like we were having a problem out on the racetrack with her. It’s not like I just drew her name out of a hat and decided she was the one I was going to run into tonight.

I know that I didn’t have any brakes, and it’s hard not to do that if you are in her shoes. But it makes me mad because I didn’t have any brakes. I didn’t do that on purpose. I don’t know. She will chill out. It happens to all of us. I’m not too worried about it. I got a pretty good friend so I think we will be able to talk it out.

They’re friendly with each other most of the time, so hopefully “most of the time” comes back soon.


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.

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