It's Official-Jr. Leaving DEI
I watched the news conference today and I too was very impressed with Jr. Here's some articles from Jayski's.
Jayski's® Silly Season Site - Nextel Cup News Page
This part of Teresa's statement sounds like Jr. bashing to me. :ohno
Dale Jr. to leave DEI after 2007 season UPDATE: Statement from Teresa Earnhardt/DEI: In response to today's announcement by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., that he will be leaving DEI, Teresa Earnhardt, CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. issued the following statement. "While we are very disappointed that Dale Jr. has chosen to leave the family business, we remain excited about our company's future. Our aggressive expansion and diversification plans have not changed. This company has continued to thrive since Dale left us in 2001, and it will thrive following today's announcement. Dale and I built this company to be a championship-contender, and those principles still apply. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will win, and we have other extremely talented drivers and hundreds of employees that are dedicated to the programs we founded. This company has a great legacy and a bright future, built on loyalty, integrity, and commitment."(DEI)
UPDATE: some highlights from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. press conference:
Dale Jr. will leave DEI at the end of the season
Sponsor/Budweiser? will be discussed in a timely manner
Car #8: No decision, but Dale Jr. expects DEI to keep the car number 8. Note: NASCAR owns and assigns car numbers to an owner(s). NASCAR reserves the right to revoke or transfer car numbers to another owner/team at any time. Car numbers are non-assignable and non-transferable, except by NASCAR. NASCAR works with teams and sponsors when a specific number is requested. Team have been known to 'sell' car numbers, like when DEI got the number from the Stovala Brothers in 2000, #15 from Bud Moore, etc.
Crew Chief Tony Eury Jr.: no decision on if crew chief Eury Jr. will go with DaleJr, Dale Jr. said he can't speak for Eury Jr.
DEI Teammate Truex Jr.: is not part of this situation or discussion
1) sign with a top tier Nextel Cup team [one that wins and runs for the championship
2) sign with a second tier team
3) and the last choice, would be to run Nextel Cup with Dale Jr's own team, JR Motorsports, but no plans for that to happen at this points, Dale Jr. does hope he can drive a few Busch Series [or whatever it will be called in 2008] out of the JR Motorsports shop.
Why leave DEI? Dale Jr. said he negotiations were never close, and he knows fans are disappointed, but so is he.
More on this and hopefully a transcript will be posted sometime today.(5-10-2007)
I got some funny vibes today watching this. It almost sounds to me like DEI is going to be switching to Fords or something. Jr. is not closing the door to any teams. It wouldn't surprise me to see him end up at Ginn Motorsports. Look how good Mark Martin is doing for them. It also sounds like wherever Jr. ends up he wants to use JR Motorsports in a developmental deal of some sorts which would work great with a second tier team like Ginn. Silly Season comes early this year. :lol
This company has a great legacy and a bright future, built on loyalty, integrity, and commitment.
ETA Here's a link to a transcript of the press conference from today.
Jayski'sŪ Silly Season Site - Dale Earnhardt Jr / DEI Split Transcript 2007
DEI, RCR merge engine programs
DEI, RCR merge engine programs - NASCAR - Yahoo! Sports
So much for my theory that DEI was dropping Chevrolet. :lol
DEI, RCR merge engine programs
By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer
May 18, 2007
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. has merged its engine program with Richard Childress Racing, an alliance that likely will help DEI return to prominence.
DEI has been in a slow decline since Dale Earnhardt's 2001 death, and star driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is leaving at the end of the season because he doesn't think he can win championships at DEI.
His stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt, hopes that merging engine programs with RCR will strengthen the organization.
``This backs up what Teresa said last week -- her commitment is solid, and her No. 1 priority is to win championships,'' John Story, general manager of DEI, said Friday. ``This is the first of a few big things we are going to do to continue moving toward that goal of winning championships.''
DEI officials believe the merger shows the team is resilient and will move on without Earnhardt Jr.
``When you get knocked down like we did the last week and a half, you come back fighting,'' said Richie Gilmore, director of motorsports.
``We wish Dale Jr. all the luck in the world. But we have to take our company to the front and take it to the point of winning championships. We don't want to back up on our goals at all.''
The first collaborative engine is scheduled to be used at Daytona International Speedway in July, and Earnhardt Jr. believes the partnership will strengthen the team.
``I think that's a great move,'' he said. ``I was telling Richie this time a year ago that all the Chevy teams ought to consolidate to one engine program. Depending on the teams you brought in it would cut the cost tremendously.
``I think it's an awesome idea because the sport's getting so damn costly now. As far as performance wise, both of 'em got a little to offer each other.''
Childress said last week that he's interested in signing Earnhardt Jr., and the engine deal with DEI isn't expected to affect those efforts.
``That wouldn't impact my decision,'' Earnhardt said. ``Absolutely not.''
The merger is similar to an agreement the elder Earnhardt once had with Childress and Andy Petree. The ``RAD'' partnership pooled resources from all three teams to build a program for restrictor-plate races.
The partnership was successful, as the three teams spent several seasons with the most competitive cars at Daytona and Talladega.
Now they'll try for the same success again.
``It really makes sense for us to put our programs together,'' said Childress, who fielded cars for six of the elder Earnhardt's seven championships.
``Looking at their stuff, looking at our stuff, we've got great people, great products and we just want to be better. We're looking really further down the road with this thing -- a couple of years down the road. We feel we can only be more powerful in numbers.''
The engines will be used for the six combined Cup teams that DEI and RCR have, the Busch programs for both organizations and Kevin Harvick's Busch team, too.
RCR currently has lease agreements with several teams, and all will use the motors produced from this venture.
With the new DEI-RCR agreement, the engine program will be housed in a separate facility from both race shops, and managers from both teams will oversee it.
``The biggest thing this does is make both teams grow bigger,'' Gilmore said. ``We both need more space. We both need bigger buying power. When you put the Earnhardt and Childress names together, that's tremendous firepower.''
Harvick Wins Nextel All-Star Challenge
FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 4 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Pennzoil Platinum / Shell PE 80 Running
2 2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Power of Pride PE 80 Running
3 18 01 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army PE 80 Running
4 5 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T PE 80 Running
5 17 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot PE 80 Running
6 20 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Yellow Trans. / Haas Automation PE 80 Running
7 1 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT PE 80 Running
8 8 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL PE 80 Running
9 10 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser PE 80 Running
10 19 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker PE 80 Running
11 7 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont Performance Alliance PE 80 Running
12 13 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS PE 80 Running
13 14 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull PE 80 Running
14 11 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW PE 80 Running
15 12 16 Greg Biffle Ford Ameriquest PE 80 Running
16 21 78 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing PE 80 Running
17 9 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Freight PE 63 Accident
18 16 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC PE 63 Accident
19 3 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite World Beer Cup PE 62 Accident
20 6 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST PE 62 Accident
21 15 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker PE 41 Accident
NASCAR to use COT exclusively in 2008
I'm glad to see this just to help cut costs and hopefully keep some of the lower tiered teams in the sport.
NASCAR to use COT exclusively in 2008 - NASCAR - Yahoo! Sports
By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer
May 22, 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR will use the Car of Tomorrow exclusively in 2008, a year earlier than planned.
The COT was scheduled to run 16 races this season and be phased into competition during the next two years. But costs skyrocketed while car owners tried to maintain two programs -- the current car, and the COT -- and NASCAR said Tuesday it will move up the date if teams agreed.
``The majority of car owners actually came to us and said 'Now that we are up and running the car, it doesn't make sense to have two parallel programs moving forward,''' competition director Robin Pemberton said. ``It seems to us that everyone is working on the Car of Tomorrow now and ready to use it exclusively.''
The COT was a seven-year project by NASCAR to design a universal car that is safer, less expensive and better for racing. It's been used in five events this season, all won by drivers for Hendrick Motorsports. The next COT race is June 3 in Dover, Del.
Most drivers have been critical of the COT, complaining about its handling and calling it difficult to drive, but they preferred going to one program.
``I don't like doing two different cars -- it's one or the other,'' Dale Earnhardt Jr. said this month. ``I'd go full time to the COT right now. Why not? We're all struggling with it. We might as well get all the time we can with it week in and week out, even if it drives us all crazy.''
Smaller teams have been satisfied with the results and think the COT has helped them compete with the big-budget operations.
``I think it does help level the playing field somewhat for the smaller teams,'' said Jeff Green, whose two top-10 finishes this season came in COT races.
``NASCAR is able to keep a tighter lid on some of the trick things teams can do, and I think that will benefit the teams that don't have the depth of resources some of the bigger teams have. I see it as a positive move all the way around.''
But Jeff Gordon, winner of two COT races, is hesitant because the car has yet to race on a 1.5-mile track.
``Without being on a mile-and-a-half track, I don't see how we can just go completely forward with it,'' Gordon said. ``I'm pretty optimistic about the way things are going right now. Obviously we're running good with it. But I still think there are things that need to evolve with this car that are not there yet.''
Humpy Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway, estimates the COT will save teams $1 million per car annually, thus helping smaller teams compete.
``While we will probably never again see the day when a young rookie like Ricky Rudd or Bill Elliot shows up at a track with a car they built in their home garage, we may see a return of the successful one-car operation,'' Wheeler said. ``The end result is that in a couple years the playing field will be more level.''
After two consecutive COT races, NASCAR returned to the old car for Saturday night's All-Star race -- a snoozer that saw just three lead changes over 80 laps. The old car will be used again at Lowe's Motor Speedway for this weekend's Coca-Cola 600.
Wheeler thinks races will be more exciting once the COT is fully developed.
``The Car of Tomorrow will eventually create the most dynamic change in racing in the long history of Nextel Cup,'' he said. ``As drivers and crews continue to adapt, the racing will be more competitive and we will see a significant increase in side-by-side racing.''
NASCAR has been pleased with the car through its first five events and cites an average margin of victory of .505 seconds -- compared with 1.286 seconds in the same five races last season -- as proof the car has improved racing.
It also says there have been six fewer did-not-finish results through the same race sequence, and 13 teams have used the same chassis for three of the five races.
NASCAR recognizes the car is a work in progress. Series officials had hoped teams would want to use the COT full time in 2008 because more use produces more information on how to make improvements.
``We feel like making this decision now gives teams an idea of what is coming and lets them put more resources into the new car,'' Pemberton said. ``Teams can work on program for next year and everyone will be able to get a better grasp on the entire project.''
The Toyota teams have been the loudest proponents for going strictly to the COT because focusing on one program could alleviate many of the manufacturer's struggles. Toyota's teams have struggled to make races this season, the automaker's first in the Nextel Cup.
``It will help us tremendously because we're a startup organization and it would help us streamline our efforts,'' said Michael Waltrip, who is running a three-car team. ``It will save everybody money. It will be more competitive going forward and I look forward to it being all-in right away.''