Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes head-to-head against Charles Barkley on the track

CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR’s most popular driver has certified that Charles Barkley is “not turrible” behind the wheel.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. squared off against the Hall of Fame basketball player in a head-to-head race that will be aired on NASCAR on TNT’s Summer Series before the June 8 race at Pocono. Earnhardt was pleased with the meeting but wouldn’t reveal details of Friday’s race.

“I was really surprised how nice a guy he was,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I really expected him to be a competitor. As a player, he was really fiery and aggressive, getting into scuffles. He was super nice. Really has an appreciation for our sport. Just a real nice guy to be around.

“We’ll just have to save the results for later, but you can imagine how it went,” added Earnhardt, who borrowed Barkley’s phrase “turrible” to praise the former NBA star’s driving.

The idea for the race began on social media when Earnhardt landed in one of TNT’s “Gone Fishing” tweets after the Charlotte Bobcats were eliminated from the NBA playoffs. Barkley mentioned he wanted to meet the driver, and Earnhardt replied on Twitter, “Heck, I wanna meet Charles!”

It led to Friday’s race. Barkley posted a Vine video from the encounter in which he told Earnhardt Jr. he’s been a longtime fan and had been trying to arrange a meeting through Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett.

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