2014 Quicken Loans 400: Dale Earnhardt Jr. strands Ryan Newman at airport

Matthew Stockman

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was supposed to fly Ryan Newman to Michigan on his plane Friday. Instead, Earnhardt inadvertently left Newman behind in Charlotte.

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.

It wasn't until it was too late that Earnhardt realized his mistake, and his efforts to reach Newman proved unsuccessful.

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"

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