Dale Earnhardt Jr. changed his tone, if not his tune, about Teresa Earnhardt on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“It's about time we gave Teresa a break,” Earnhardt Jr. said.
“...As much as I am disappointed and frustrated over the fact that I don't get to keep driving the No. 8, the stuff that I read on the Internet and the stuff that I hear going on, I don't think anybody deserves that.”
Last Saturday at Michigan, Earnhardt Jr. said he never expected to be able to take the No. 8 with him to Hendrick Motorsports next year because, “I've been in these negotiations with the same person before and they never work out in your favor.”
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But Earnhardt Jr. said he thinks criticism of his stepmother has gone too far.
“If people just take a step back and look, she hasn’t done anything detrimental to me,” he said.
“I’ve got a good future. I got a good opportunity in my hands. She’s doing what she needs to do, what she feels she needs to do.
“I think everybody just needs to lay off a little bit because she was married to my daddy and I know he wouldn't be too happy about it, about what's going on and what's being said about it. It bothers me a little bit.
“She has a daughter (Taylor) who goes to school and has friends and has to put up with that stuff. It's hard core, man. People have been really, really rude and over the line, way over the line with some of the things that have been said.
"I know Teresa don't know about half of it because she don't read it and she won’t put up with it. It still gets back to Taylor, or maybe it does, I don't know. Nobody deserves that. It ain't fair.”