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Dale Earnhardt Jr. says Danica Patrick should 'chill out' after accident

Though an accident, Danica Patrick was not pleased when Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran into her during Saturday night’s NASCAR race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. accepted responsibility for spinning Danica Patrick out in Saturday night's NASCAR race at Kentucky, but said the contact was accidental and certainly not deliberate.

Because of brake issues he had been dealing with throughout the Quaker State 400, Earnhardt couldn't slow down as he entered Turn 3 and rear-ended Patrick with 61 laps remaining. The contact was enough to send Patrick into the wall, damaging her car.

"I probably shouldn't have been racing as hard as I was when we ran into the back of Danica," Earnhardt said. "But I went into that corner and mashed the brakes to the floor. I pumped it three times all the way to the floor and then ran into her. There wasn't anything I could do. It sucks."

Patrick vehemently cursed Earnhardt over the radio to her team immediately afterward, at one point instructing a crewmember to tell Earnhardt to "go f*** yourself." After gathering her car, she followed Earnhardt onto pit road where Patrick proceeded to intentionally slam the back of Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet.

Earnhardt said he understood Patrick's frustration, but didn't understand why she reacted the way she did when the contact was unavoidable.

"I mean, what am I supposed to say other than the truth?" Earnhardt said. "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."

Patrick drove for JRM Motorsports, Earnhardt's Xfinity Series team, from 2010-12 before moving to the Sprint Cup Series full-time. Earnhardt described Patrick as a "pretty good friend" and figures the two will talk about the collision.

"I know that I didn't have any brakes and it's hard not to do that if you are in her shoes," Earnhardt said. "But it makes me mad because I didn't have any brakes. I didn't do that on purpose.

"She will chill out. It happens to all of us. I'm not too worried about it."

Patrick, who finished 34th, declined comment to reporters at Kentucky. Earnhardt finished 21st.