• May 10, 2007


The world of NASCAR was rocked today when Dale Earnhardt Junior, the motorsport's most marketable and therefore most valuable driver, announced he is leaving DEI, the race team originally owned by his father. It turns out that there may be some familial conflict at the center of Junior's departure, as some speculate that Teresa Earnhardt, his stepmother and father's wife at the time of his death, wasn't willing to meet all of his demands.

Junior and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, were negotiating with DEI to gain control of 51 of the company to Junior, she wanted Junior's control over the team to be tempered by a board or committee that would approve final decisions. Whatever the case, DEI's offer wasn't enough to keep Junior at the negotiating table any longer, and he'll become a free agent at the end of the season. The news is even worse for DEI, as some speculate that Budweiser, Junior's biggest sponsor, will follow him next year to whatever team that signs him.

[Source: Auto Racing Daily]


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  • 29 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      F1. Please go to F1!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dale Jr. made a smart decision and I am excited to see what the future holds for this young man! I would love to see him drive the #3 car for Childress! No matter what, his fans are behind him 100%!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Not likely to see him in the #3 car this early in his career. Jr. has already statedt that is not going to happen. My mony is on Gibbs. Jr. is a big Redskins fan as well as a Coach Gibbs fan. He is also great friends with Tony and Denny Hamlin. Tony and JR. would compete against Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Also look for Tony Eury Jr. to go with Jr. to Gibbs. Anyone want to take that bet?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Many hope that jr will drive for RCR in the black goodwrench chevy. This is possible as you know Harvick now drives penzoil. As far as his fans go he will still have his fans as long as he doesn't drive for hendrick motorsports. No matter where Jr. goes my money is on him driving in a chevy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      JR RULES.. no matter wat jr nation isbehind him. i hope he is in chevy. if not the dodge be fine. hell with ford n toyota. jr IS and WAS DEI. now its gonna go down the tubes. and truex will possibly go 2. then bye bye DEI said 2 say it but yea.. teresa "THE BITCH" earnhardt is 2 blame..
      • 7 Years Ago
      slim to no chance of him running his own team...it would possibly put him in the same kind of situation that the toyota teams are in right now. and he stated that he was against adding more employees to his organization...which would be a must in order to take jr motorsports to the cup series.

      and no hendrick can't go to a 5th team...roush has the exception because he already had the 5th team, nobody else is allowed to go to 5 teams as of 2 years ago.

      richard childress was gearing up to add a 4th team within 2-3 years...i believe this will do nothing but throw that into a higher gear and he'll be driving a bud chevy for childress next season, possibly gibbs. but you can pretty much rule out hendrick and any ford or toyota team
      • 7 Years Ago
      A few things.

      First off, Richard Childress said no one will be driving with the number 3. That's why he owns it. Dale Jr also doesnt want to see that number back on the track. At least not now. He drove 2 Busch cars in 2002 with the 3, and the Winston Victory Lap car for Earnhardt was the last 3 ever on the track.

      Secondly, there is talk about JR Motorsports moving to the Cup next year. So if that is true, then there doesn't need to be any guessing about where he would be.

      If that doesnt happen, it will most likely be with Childress. He may not have as much to offer as Hendrick, but more that Gibbs - and what Childress can offer Dale Jr is bigger than any other option Jr has.
      • 7 Years Ago
      it's already been reported that next year he'll be racing out of his own JR. Motorsports team that currently runs in busch. Martin Truex is coming with, and both of their cup sponsors are, too. I've heard about 1/2 of DEI might go with him as well. they'll be getting hendrick powerplants.
      • 7 Years Ago
      DEI after the end of the 2007 season will cease to exist as a major player in the NASCAR world. DEI was dale Jr. With him and budweiser gone she is a nobody. All she has to look forward to is a realationship with the has been team of Robert Yates.

      I would bet my money on Junior going to Hendrick Motorsports. Going to RIchard Childress will associate him with his father again which he doesn't want right now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So what kinda of "team" is Cruella DeVille....err...I mean... Teresa Earnhardt gonna have without Junior? Won't most of the big sponsors go with him to his new team ( Budmiser, Wrangler, etc ).

      It will be lame to see a primer painted number 3 car go around the track with some unknown Busch driver behind the wheel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      and there goes the Gibbs possibility

      Gibbs comments:

      "Personally, it would be hard for us," said team president J.D. Gibbs, referring to the company's stance on companies that sell alcoholic beverages. "[Budweiser] is a great partner in the sport, but for us it would be tough."

      Gibbs also said the organization isn't looking to expand to four teams next season, saying, "We know how hard it is to add a team and we're in no big hurry."

      • 7 Years Ago
      im so happy dale left, i just wish truex would've left too. I also wanna ask if anyone else has heard rumor about dale joining the jeff gordon and johnson team, and just thinking out loud here, i wonder what number he will have now????
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