Dale Earnhardt Jr. Photo: Douglas Jones, USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports
CONCORD, N.C. -- What does it take to embarrass NASCAR's most popular driver?
Apparently sending a bunch of his peers home with wrecked race cars will do the trick.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said his role in triggering a Jan. 11 crash during preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway left him "the most embarrassed I'd ever been."
Earnhardt was trying to bump-draft with Marcos Ambrose toward the front of a big pack but accidentally turned Ambrose's car instead. The result was a 12-car pileup that left more 10 teams unable to continue testing their Gen 6 cars. NASCAR is introducing the model this season.
"It was a mistake," Earnhardt told news reporters Wednesday during Hendrick Motorsports' stop on the Sprint Media Tour. "I've made 'em before, it won't be the last. (But) it was really embarrassing."
Earnhardt said it was even more embarrassing than the opening weekend of last year's Chase, when he blew a motor at the end of his qualifying lap by over-revving it while trying to knock the car out of gear.
Reporters quizzed him on why the Daytona moment in particular seemed to stick with him -- since he'd certainly made errors before, as all drivers do.