From the weekend in NFL and college football to the passing of Arnold Palmer, the new iPhone and music recommendations, it was a thorough discussion.
And in the midst of it all, he made sure to praise the job that Alex Bowman has done in the No. 88 Chevrolet SS, and how well the entire No. 88 team has handled the situation with Earnhardt out of the car as he continues to recover from a concussion.
“The guys are excited to get to work with Alex,” Earnhardt said. “He’s a young guy and they see him as a person that they can help. It gives them a bit of a challenge to try to give him these opportunities that he might find himself with a full-time job next year.”
Early in the process, Earnhardt acknowledged, he thought that Bowman might be in the car for just one race – at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.
“But it’s turned into something more,” he said. “That’s due to the speed he’s shown in the car, but also I think the rapport that he’s built with the team. He's already got a great relationship with the guys and spends a lot of time with them on the weekend and does everything you want as a driver. He’s very interactive with the group and they seem to really like working with him.”
Bowman earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-10 finish at Chicagoland Speedway in the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – leading six laps in the process – and last week in New Hampshire he earned his second-best finish of 14th.
Earnhardt said that between Bowman and Jeff Gordon substituting behind the wheel, the No. 88 team has found ways to enjoy the job even with Earnhardt on the sideline.
“They get to work with Jeff Gordon, which is pretty awesome. He’s an awesome substitute to have – can’t think of a better one,” he said. “And then you get an opportunity to work with a young guy like Alex, who I think has proven that he has ability and speed and he gets to get in some good equipment that he can build some confidence in.”
Earnhardt has been impressed with the 23-year-old Bowman, and he’s glad he will have a handful of races under his belt by the end of the season, including six of the eight remaining races this year.
“I’m pretty happy for him and I’m glad that he’s getting the chance.”