Ryan Newman thought he had coordinated transportation to Michigan International Speedway from the Charlotte area, lining up a seat on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s private airplane.
One problem: Earnhardt left him behind. Oops.
Weekend started off on wrong foot. Left @RyanJNewman at the airport. Forgot he was riding with us. Imma pay for this one.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) June 13, 2014
It wasn't until it was too late that Earnhardt realized his mistake, and his efforts to reach Newman proved unsuccessful.
I'm hoping and praying that the reason @RyanJNewman isn't responding to my text are because he is at 40,000 feet. Please be at 40,000 feet.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) June 13, 2014
The mix-up, Earnhardt explained, came when his flight was bumped up 30 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. He and Newman had talked earlier in the week, but Earnhardt failed to communicate the schedule change. And in a rush Friday morning, Earnhardt forget he had promised Newman a ride.
"When I got up this morning I didn't look at the clock," Earnhardt said. "I just got in the shower, went downstairs, got in the car and drove to the airport and got on the plane. 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.
"I think he got a ride. That was unfortunate for sure, but it happens."
Earnhardt's manager shared the text he received from Newman Friday morning.
Newman knew something was amiss when he showed up at the airport and saw Earnhardt's truck, but not his plane.
"I knew I was in trouble at that point," Newman said.
Scrambling, a desperate Newman drove across the airport in search of another flight to hop on. It was then he saw the plane of ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett, who was headed to Michigan to broadcast Saturday's Nationwide Series race. Not seeing Jarrett, Newman asked the pilots if they were taking off.
"I said, ‘I'm hoping you guys are going to Michigan, right?'" Newman said. "They said yes so I bummed a ride. It was extravagantly convenient and lucky at the same time."
In an ironic twist, Jarrett's son, Jason, is Newman's spotter.
"I told Jason his old man saved me on this one," Newman said. "That's probably the closest I've been to not making a practice"