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Thread: NASCAR News 2007

  1. #61
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Jr. Leaving DEI

    Earnhardt Jr. leaving DEI - NASCAR - Yahoo! Sports
    Earnhardt Jr. leaving DEI
    By Jerry Bonkowski, Yahoo! Sports
    May 9, 2007

    Jerry Bonkowski
    Yahoo! Sports
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. officially will say goodbye to Dale Earnhardt Inc. on Thursday morning, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

    A highly placed source within DEI as well as additional sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday afternoon that both Junior and teammate Martin Truex Jr. will announce Thursday morning that they are leaving the DEI camp at the end of this season and will drive for Earnhardt's heretofore Busch Series operation, JR Motorsports.

    Sirius Radio also reported late Wednesday afternoon that the Earnhardt/Truex split with DEI was a done deal and that the new Cup team entry will field Chevrolet chassis built by Hendrick Motorsports and will use Hendrick engines as well. Sources at Hendrick Motorsports reportedly disavowed knowledge of a pending partnership, however.

    Sources tell Yahoo! Sports that Earnhardt Jr.'s primary sponsor, Budweiser, will follow Junior to JR Motorsports. Budweiser's contract with DEI is due to expire at the end of 2008, but Yahoo! Sports sources believe there are provisions within the contract for an early exit if Earnhardt Jr. does not drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for DEI.

    The press conference, which will be televised nationally, will take place at JR Motorsports headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday.

    There has been no comment thus far from either DEI president Teresa Earnhardt (Dale Jr.'s stepmother) or company director of global operations Max Siegel.

    Truex's contract with DEI reportedly runs through 2008, though '08 might be only an option year on his deal with the team. It also is possible Truex has an out tied to primary sponsor Bass Pro Shops' future with the DEI. Sources have told Yahoo! Sports that the sponsor has explored moving to a different team after this season.

    Earnhardt and sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge have been in often contentious negotiations with Teresa Earnhardt that have sparked considerable posturing from both sides in the media.

    Both siblings have said that if a deal with DEI was not in place by the end of May, they would consider a variety of options, including Junior leaving DEI. Just last week, DEI confirmed that it was talking with Robert Yates Racing about a possible merger and also a switch from Chevrolet power plants and chassis to Ford engines and chassis.

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. began his racing career with DEI in 1996, shortly after the organization was formed by his late father, seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, and Teresa Earnhardt.

    Earnhardt Jr. won back-to-back Busch Series championships in 1998 and 1999 before moving full-time to the then-Winston Cup Series in 2000. His first career Cup win was at Texas, with a memorable celebration between father and son in victory lane.

    Voted the most popular driver in NASCAR by fans the last four years, Earnhardt Jr. has 17 career Cup wins but has yet to win his first Cup championship. He has gone 36 consecutive races without a win, his last being at Richmond in May 2006

  2. #62
    Shoveling the ocean MissThing's Avatar
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    Re: NASCAR News 2007

    I saw this, Unk, and it makes me sad. I like HMS, almost love most of their stable. But, I'd really hoped DEI would work out for al linvolved .
    Papi on being tested for steroids: "All they are going to find is a lot of rice and beans."
    I cater to the Regs!

  3. #63
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    Re: NASCAR News 2007

    The news conference is at 11 a.m. Eastern on Speed Channel.

  4. #64
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    Re: NASCAR News 2007

    Quote Originally Posted by Unklescott;2381103;
    The news conference is at 11 a.m. Eastern on Speed Channel.
    I watched the tail end of it. He handled himself very well, as it has got to have been an emotional decision. It does sound as if his next year plans are still very much in the air, but as if he has some great opportunities available.
    Papi on being tested for steroids: "All they are going to find is a lot of rice and beans."
    I cater to the Regs!

  5. #65
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    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
    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
    Possible Plans:
    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)
    This part of Teresa's statement sounds like Jr. bashing to me.
    This company has a great legacy and a bright future, built on loyalty, integrity, and commitment.
    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.

    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
    Last edited by Unklescott; 05-10-2007 at 07:52 PM.

  6. #66
    Shoveling the ocean MissThing's Avatar
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    Re: NASCAR News 2007

    Here are the numbers on the penalty:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For a change, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. dragged driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the news and not vice versa.


    Earnhardt Jr.


    Eury on Tuesday was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races after NASCAR discovered the rear wing mounts on the famous No. 8 were illegal before Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Darlington Raceway.

    Also, Earnhardt's team was docked 100 championship points to drop him from 12th to 14th in the standings and Dale Earnhardt Inc. owner Teresa Earnhardt was docked 100 owners' points.

    DEI, in a prepared statement, said it would appeal the penalty.

    "The car in question was a brand new car for the No. 8 team and the brackets that were found to be nonconforming were built as test pieces before the final design was established by NASCAR," the statement said. "They should not have been on the car and with Tony Eury Jr. away from the track Thursday during inspection, the error was not caught.

    "We do not question the infraction, which is clearly spelled out in the NASCAR rule book. However, we have appealed the severity of the penalty."

    NASCAR officials said the violation was a blatant attempt to circumvent the rules.

    NASCAR sent a technical bulletin to teams on March 21 warning them that any illegal tampering with the Car of Tomorrow would result in a serious penalty, plainly stating that the fines would be exactly what Eury and DEI received.

    This was the first time there has been an infraction with the COT.

    The penalty was another sign that NASCAR will not tolerate cheating. Crew chiefs Kenny Francis [Kasey Kahne] and Robbie Reiser [Matt Kenseth] were fined $50,000 and suspended for four races each after failing post-qualifying inspection at Daytona.

    Their drivers were docked 50 points each.

    Michael Waltrip was docked 100 points and his crew chief and competition director suspended indefinitely after an illegal substance was discovered in Waltrip's engine prior to qualifying for the Daytona 500.

    NASCAR confiscated the wing mounts of Earnhardt's car on Saturday before the race was postponed until Sunday due to rain.

    Eury was allowed to replace the mounts before the race and Earnhardt was allowed to keep his 21st starting position. He finished eighth.

    Eury, who will be allowed to work this weekend's non-points All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, called it an "interpretation."

    "It was a bad deal," he said after the race. "It was a part that got put on there that shouldn't have. We've done a lot of offseason testing for NASCAR. There's been three different styles of brackets on there and it just happened to be one of those old-style brackets."

    Eury said the brackets were the same ones that weren't discovered during pre- or post-qualifying inspections.

    "It fit all of their templates," he said. "It just had a problem when you put [the angle] to where you should have."

    Eury said he tried to explain how to fix the problem to series director John Darby and told him it was not done on purpose.

    Earnhardt, who on Thursday became the most famous free agent in NASCAR history when he announced this would be his last season for DEI, offered to pay the fine.

    "Whatever he needs me to do," Earnhardt said. "I don't really know what he was trying to accomplish there. We still ran all right with the stock positions."

    ESPN.com: Dale Jr. docked, but Eury suspended six weeks
    Papi on being tested for steroids: "All they are going to find is a lot of rice and beans."
    I cater to the Regs!

  7. #67
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    DEI, RCR merge engine programs

    DEI, RCR merge engine programs - NASCAR - Yahoo! Sports
    So much for my theory that DEI was dropping Chevrolet.
    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.''

  8. #68
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    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

  9. #69
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    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.''

  10. #70
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    Re: NASCAR News 2007

    I like the side-by-side commercials on the Indy 500 broadcast. Too bad NASCAR doesn't do that.

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