Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoys family ties with Royals manager Ned Yost

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 03:  Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 3, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, KS – OCTOBER 03: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 3, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Kan.—The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball team may have taken the city by storm this season, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a connection to the American League wild-card winner that pre-dates the recent success.

The late Dale Earnhardt Sr. got to know Royals manager Ned Yost when Yost was with the Atlanta Braves organization, and that association has continued with Earnhardt Jr. Not only has Yost followed Earnhardt Jr.’s career, but the two also have crossed paths on the online iRacing site.

Yost reportedly was elated when Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 earlier this year.

“I read a couple of articles where he was real pleased with how we did in Daytona,” Earnhardt said on Friday before NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Kansas Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). “Knowing his friendship with my Dad, it’s pretty cool that he’s watching me. That meant a really good deal to me. He’s a genuine guy with a genuine appreciation and friendship with my father.

“It means a lot to me that he follows me still to this day, and I think that I want to see him do well as much. I have seen him in different circles. He’s been on iRacing a little bit over the last several years… seen him on there. Just different things, but we don’t really have consistent contact with each other, but there’s a mutual respect, for sure.”

Earnhardt will turn 40 on Oct. 10, and he’d love to celebrate his 15th full season in Sprint Cup racing with his first series championship.

“We’re still winning races and running good, so maybe we can get a few more wins and have some more fun before it’s over,” Earnhardt said. “Definitely, having this birthday come up makes you reflect quite a bit back on, not so much the decisions or any regrets you have, just the fun stuff you have done, and is the next 40 years going to be just as good, because the first 40 were pretty great.”

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