#01 Team News and Links Page
OFFICIAL - team/driver
Dale Earnhardt Inc
#01 Team Past News and Rumors
(NOTE: some older links may not work)
- Contract Status: Sponsor - 2008; Drivers - 2008
- Jerry Nadeau News: moved to it's own page: #01 Jerry Nadeau Page
- Penske buys the #22, Davis a minority owner UPDATE more: Bill Davis is now a minority owner in Penske Racing. Penske has acquired Davis' #22 and will keep the number for further consideration to align with the #2 and #12. But for now, the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. will take the 22's owner points and start the 2009 season 31st, which guarantees it a position in the Daytona 500. "As a business person, you have to look at what your options are," Penske said by phone. "I think the key thing right now is it's too bad that anyone who has run a full season whether they're in the top 35 or not — and I don't mean the ones that run a half season — but if you run the full season last year, every car in every race, you hope you would be given some kind of priority."(FoxSports)(2-3-2009)
UPDATE: #09-Phoenix Racing’s Brad Keselowski will get the points from the #41 or #01 left over from the Chip Ganassi Racing-Dale Earnhardt Inc. merger, according to sources. That leaves one set of points remaining, and those possibly could go to Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, who moved to the new RCR #33 car this year while Casey Mears, the new driver of the #07 car, has Bowyer’s points from last season. RCR officials would not confirm whether the team is working a deal for top-35 points. While having the points is good news for Hornish (who will still drive the #77), it is not good news for Richard Petty Motorsports’ #44-AJ Allmendinger, who now will have to qualify on speed or race his way in the Daytona 500. His car was 37th in owners points last year. Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing car, is on the bubble at 36th from last season. If RCR gets points for Bowyer as expected, then Ambrose also will have to qualify on speed or race his way in the Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip, whose Michael Waltrip Racing builds cars for Ambrose, said Tuesday that he was unsure whether Ambrose would end up being locked in for the Daytona 500.(SceneDaily), see my 2009 Owners Points - 1st five races page(2-4-2009)
- Siegel close to leaving DEI UPDATE 2: A NASCAR team source told ESPN's Kelly Naqi that Dale Earnhardt Inc. president of global operations Max Siegel is close to leaving the team. Siegel said he's talking to DEI chief executive officer Teresa Earnhardt about his future plans with the team, which was part of a merger and has been renamed Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. When contacted, Siegel said, "This has been a great opportunity and I have always been committed to doing what's in the best interests of the sport and the company. I am currently in discussions with Teresa about how I can have the most positive impact on the future of DEI."(ESPN.com)(1-11-2009)
UPDATE: Max L. Siegel, former president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc., is rejoining Baker & Daniels to lead an expansion of the law firm's sports and entertainment practice. Baker & Daniels says Siegel's experience as an industry insider makes him "ideally suited" to head the team. Siegel, a native of Indianapolis, represents a variety of entertainers and athletes. At Dale Earnhardt Inc., he was the highest ranking African-American executive in the NASCAR industry. Siegel served on the executive team that produced pop artists like Britney Spears, Usher and Justin Timberlake. Siegel also has worked with gospel stars Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin, and he has represented sports athletes like Tony Gwynn and Reggie White. He was last with B&D from 1992 to 1994. Two of B&D's past partners have taken new sports jobs. Jack Swarbrick and Fred Glass recently accepted athletic director positions at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University, respectively.(Indianapolis Star)
AND Max Siegel on Wednesday announced he will step down as president of global operations at newly formed Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing to run NASCAR's diversity program. Siegel will continue to consult Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing on strategic initiatives on the business and marketing side through the new company he has started in conjunction with his former law firm, Baker and Daniels, which has offices worldwide.(ESPN.com)(1-14-2009)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced that Max Siegel and his new sports and entertainment marketing company, 909 Group, will be managing the industry’s Drive for Diversity initiative, which seeks to develop minority and female drivers and crew members. Siegel, along with a team to be announced, will take a hands-on approach on the day-to-day operations of Drive for Diversity; increase its reach inside and outside the sport; create mainstream marketing programs for the initiative; and further involve the entire NASCAR industry, particularly top-tier teams and sponsors.(NASCAR PR)(1-15-2009)
- Smith named to drive the #78 car: Furniture Row Racing announced Wednesday that Regan Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, will drive the team's #78 Chevy in 2009. The team is cutting back its schedule for 2009, but will still enter 12 Sprint Cup races, beginning with the Feb. 15 season opener: the Daytona 500. "Furniture Row Racing is thrilled to obtain the driving services of Regan, who is one of the bright young talents in NASCAR," said team President and General Manager Joe Garone. "His competitiveness and enthusiasm on the track speak for itself. In addition, he is a good fit for not only our sponsor but any partners looking for strong corporate representation in the Sprint Cup Series." Smith, 25, competed in 34 Cup events for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008 and became the first NASCAR sprint cup rookie to finish every race he started. The Cato, N.Y. native (25 miles west of Syracuse) started his Cup career in 2007 as a part-time driver for Ginn Racing. He joined DEI in the middle of 2007 when DEI and Ginn merged their racing operations. "I look forward to continuing my career in the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy," said Smith. "Though it's a single-car team that battles heavy odds against the mega multicar operations, the organization has always been highly respected in the garage for its use of some of the best equipment as well as an undying commitment to growing a winning team. That's all a driver can ask for and I can't wait to get to Daytona and compete in another superspeedway race."
Team crew chief Jay Guy is also excited about Smith's signing. "I look forward to continuing the growth of this Furniture Row team with Regan behind the wheel," said Guy. "After racing against him in the Nationwide Series and seeing how much raw talent he has, I find myself both excited and optimistic for the 2009 season."(KUSA 9 News)(1-14-2009)
- HMS Holdings suing DEI over engines UPDATE 2:: HMS Holdings, which operates the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop, is suing Dale Earnhardt Inc. for $1.5 million for the payment of a termination fee stemming from a contract to supply Hendrick engines to Ginn Racing. Ginn Racing, which also is a defendant in the suit filed Friday in North Carolina Superior Court, merged with DEI in July 2007. As part of the merger, DEI and Ginn Racing signed a termination agreement to a contract that was originally signed by Ginn in 2006. The termination agreement required payments to HMS of $1.754 million by July 31, 2007, and $1.5 million by Nov. 15, 2008, according to the suit. The first payment was made on time. The second payment has not been made, according to the suit. The original engine contract and termination agreement are not included in the suit, so it is unclear how much Ginn was paying to use Hendrick engines. HMS is asking for the $1.5 million, 12% interest and an additional $225,000. Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said the company is looking forward to a swift resolution of the lawsuit. Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President John Story said the company has no comment.(SceneDaily)(11-25-2008)
UPDATE - engines cost $12.8M base: If you’re looking to lease engines from Hendrick Motorsports for a NASCAR operation, you’d better be prepared to open up your wallet. A legal battle being played out in North Carolina courts is offering rare insight into the usually secretive world of the sport’s finances as the Hendrick operation seeks compensation from the Ginn Racing team that wound up as part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007. According to a contract filed as part of the case, the Hendrick engine lease agreement with Ginn Racing called for Ginn to pay a base rent of $12.8 million in 2007 and $13.7 million in 2008 to lease engines for its three Sprint Cup teams and one team in what is now the Nationwide Series. The fee covered Cup engines for 36 race events and up to nine tests or special events and Nationwide engines for 35 events, according to the contract filed as part of a lawsuit by HMS Holdings against Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. over the termination fees resulting from the Ginn-DEI merger in July 2007.(Scene Daily)(12-20-2008)
UPDATE 2: DEI claims that former NASCAR team owner Bobby Ginn is responsible for paying off any termination fees of Ginn Racing’s engine leasing contract with Hendrick Motorsports. Both DEI and Ginn have been sued by Hendrick in North Carolina Superior Court over $1.5 million in fees that Hendrick claims is owed under the termination agreement signed when DEI bought Ginn Racing in July 2007. In its response to the suit filed Dec. 22, DEI claims that DEI and Ginn have a signed agreement that DEI would not be responsible for any claims or payments under the engine lease termination agreement. DEI asks the court to rule that Ginn is responsible for any payments. Ginn has not yet responded to the suit.(SceneDaily)(12-30-2008)
- EGR will run Chevy's; all move to Ganassi's shop UPDATE: Director of Dodge Motorsports Mike Accavitti told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway Tuesday that Chip Ganassi Racing will race Chevrolets as part of its recent merger with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Accavitti's announcement was the first public admission of an anticipated manufacturer change by the Ganassi team.
(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)
AND The new Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team will run Chevrolets and work out of the Chip Ganassi Racing shop, a team spokesman confirmed. The team still has not named a driver nor a crew chief for the #41 car nor has it named a crew chief for the #8 car driven by Aric Almirola. It also still needs sponsorship for Almirola and a half-season sponsorship for #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. The new organization resulted from a merger of Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing, which was announced in mid-November. Neither the shop location nor the engine package is a surprise. The Ganassi team has been a Dodge organization since 2001, the first full season after Chip Ganassi bought a majority interest in Sabco Racing from Felix Sabates. Dodge had a contract with Ganassi at least through 2009, but Dodge officials had indicated that they would let Ganassi out of its commitment if it was in the best interest of the team.(SceneDaily)(12-16-2008)
UPDATE: The newly merged Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Team is keeping busy early in the offseason with the relocation of two of its cars to another shop. The cars for Martin Truex Jr. and Aric Almirola's teams will be moving from the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. West shop to the Ganassi Racing shop in Concord, NC. "We've moved our equipment and we're going to run out of Ganassi's shop in Concord," Truex Jr. said. "Things are moving along. We'll just have to wait and see, but so far things have been going pretty well." The move will combine the DEI teams with Ganassi's #41 team and #42 team, of Juan Pablo Montoya, in the state-of-the-art 183,000 square-foot facility, which opened its doors in 2003. "Bono (Kevin Manion, Truex Jr's crew chief) and Juan Pablo's crew chief Brian Pattie are good friends, they've been for a long time and they're really excited to work together," Truex Jr. said. "I'm excited about that. So far everything seems to be going pretty smooth." Sponsorship still needs to be set for some of the cars, including Montoya's, which only has 19 races set with the Wrigley Chewing Gum company. As for Almirola, the search for sponsorship is still on after the U.S. Army departed the team to head to Stewart-Hass Racing in 2009. "We've got several sponsors that we've been talking to and we've been giving tours of the shop and wining and dining them," Almirola said. "We've got several people interested so that's good news, but, just nothing set in stone right yet." The Ganassi cars will make the switch from Dodges to Chevrolets, which is the same manufacturer DEI has fielded since its existence. The team will still utilize engines from Earnhardt-Childress Technologies. "We're continuing to get our motors from the Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies, which has been really, really awesome," Almirola said. "Our motors last year were really, really good every weekend. It's not very often you get a race car driver not complain that he wants more motor. We did not struggle for motor at all this past year."(RacingOne)(12-17-2008)
- Smith still in limbo over 2009 Sprint Cup ride: Regan Smith doesn’t expect to be part of the new Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team but said Wednesday he continues to have promising discussions with other teams. Smith, talking at the New York City bar Foley’s as part of his winning NASCAR’s top Sprint Cup rookie award, said he has little dialogue with the new leadership at Earnhardt-Ganassi in the weeks since he completed his first Sprint Cup season at Dale Earnhardt Inc. DEI and Chip Ganassi Racing are merging and the #01 car Smith drove in 2008 will not be around next season. “I’m not going to say there’s no chance of it, but I haven’t had very much conversation with them [at Earnhardt-Ganassi] about it,” Smith said. “It’s probably more of a slim chance than some of the other opportunities I’ve got right now.” Among the teams Smith has visited was Furniture Row Racing in Colorado. That team likely will run a partial schedule next season. “I’ve been to the shop, and it’s a great place, a great organization and they’ve got a lot of tools to work with out there,” Smith said. “I was definitely very impressed with it. I didn’t realize there was a shop with that much technology outside of North Carolina.”(SceneDaily)(12-5-2008)
- Smith named Rookie of the Year: Rean Smith in the #01 The Principal Finacial Chevy clinched the Raybestos Rookie or the Year in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The year-end payout for 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is $75,000, the same amount Darrell Waltrip earned from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for his 1982 Cup series championship. Smith will earn a grand total of $91,500 from Raybestos brand Brakes for his efforts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. Smith became the first Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the 52-year history of the program without a DNF (did not finish). He was running at the finish in all 34 starts he made this season.
· This is the first Raybestos Rookie of the Year title for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
· Smith led or shared the lead in Raybestos Rookie standings in the 26 of the 36 Sprint Cup Series races this season.
· Smith scored a 34th-place finish in the Ford 400 and captured Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 11th time in 2008.
SMITH: YOU WERE THE UNDERDOG FOR RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BUT HAD A SOLID SEASON ALL YEAR LONG? DO YOU TAKE A LOT OF PRIDE IN BEATING SOME BIG NAMES FOR THIS AWARD? “I do. You know, there were a lot of big names that I was racing against and you look at the stuff at the beginning of the year, not very many people had me chartered as one of ‘em that was going to contend for Raybestos Rookie of the Year championship. So definitely had a little bit of a chip on the shoulder about that and wanted to go out there and prove that there is still a good ol’ stock car path and NASCAR path to get to this series. I feel like we did that to a certain extent. Obviously there were weeks I wanted to run better and there was weeks where we ran good and didn’t get what we deserved or ran good and got what we deserved. All in all, I'm very proud to win the Raybestos Rookie of the Year. You look at the names that are on there and some good names to be included with. At the end of the day you can’t change that. It’s going to be there forever.”
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO HAVE THIS ACCOMPLISHMENT BUT HAVE YOUR FUTURE BE SO UNCERTAIN? “This time of year if you don’t figure out what you’re doing it’s always difficult but it’s something at the end of the day you can put that on the shelf at the house and have that accomplishment. I’m very confident in my abilities as a race car driver. This year’s been a tough year and was a tough year for all the rookies. No excuses for that. It was a difficult year with the new car and that’s all their way to it. I’m pretty confident I’ll be driving a Cup car for somebody next year. I just don’t know which one and if not then I’ll look to the other two series and work hard to get back to this level.”(Camp and Assoc/Raybestos PR)(11-17-2008)
- GM unsure EGR will use Chevy's UPDATE: General Motors has not been told whether the new Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team will field Chevrolets next season, according to Pat Suhy, GM’s NASCAR manager. Dale Earnhardt Inc., a four-car Chevrolet team, and Chip Ganassi Racing, a two-car Dodge team, announced Wednesday their plans to merge for the 2009 season. They did not announce a manufacturer, but Dodge teams seem resigned to the probability that the new four-car organization will race Chevrolets next season. “Until they tell us what it’s going to be, I’m not confident of anything,” Suhy said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of Sunday’s Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale. “They need to make a decision based on their own needs and what kind of support they can get and what they think is in their best interests.” Suhy would not comment on how much support DEI gets and whether it is based on a four-car team.(SceneDaily)(11-15-2008)
UPDATE: Plans are in place for Chip Ganassi Racing to switch from Dodge to Chevrolet and be a part of the engine program currently used by Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Richard Childress Racing. DEI, a Chevrolet-based organization, announced on Wednesday it is merging into a four-car team with the Dodge organization of Chip Ganassi Racing in 2009. Officials from both sides said no decision has been made on whether they would be under the Chevrolet or Dodge umbrella. Richard Childress, the owner of RCR and co-owner of the Earnhardt Childress Racing [ECR] engine program, said a meeting is scheduled for Tuesday to hopefully finalize plans to bring Ganassi Racing into the ECR program. Asked if the new Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing would have to be Chevrolet to be a part of that program, he said, "I would think so. ECR will still be around," Childress said. Childress was glad to see the merger between DEI and Ganassi, saying, "It'll make them stronger for sure. If it's put together and works like ECR, it will be great. ECR has worked beyond all of our expectations." Childress didn't rule out the possibility of employees from Ganassi's engine program joining ECR. "I know he's [Ganassi] wanting to keep his engine shop going," he said. "We haven't decided everything yet."(ESPN)(11-16-2008)
- Some more info, questions about the DEI/Ganassi merger: On Wednesday, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced they were “launching a combination of racing operations” for 2009, collectively planning to race four cars in 2008. According to a press release issued by the two teams, Martin Truex Jr. will drive the #1 for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing next season, Aric Almirola will drive the #8, Juan Pablo Montoya the #42 and a driver to be named later will pilot the #41.
Left unsaid were almost all the important details:
• What brand of cars the teams will campaign.
• Whether Ganassi’s crew will supply engines or whether Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies will.
• Whether the team will be run out of DEI’s shops in Mooresville, N.C. or Ganassi’s complex in Concord, N.C.
• Who will be in charge and which executives will remain from the two teams.
• Who will sponsor the #8, which has no announced sponsors or the #41, which has sponsorship for only half the season.
• And, most importantly, whether Teresa Earnhardt or Chip Ganassi has the final say in the operation of the newly merged organization.
Apparently, most of those questions remain to be sorted out. While it is expected that the new entity will, in fact, campaign Chevrolets, sources close to the situation insist that the two parties have not yet worked out many of the critical details in the agreement. So why announce it now if it isn’t sorted out? Sources say that DEI’s deal with Bass Pro Shops requires the team to field a minimum of three teams and that if it fails to do so, the sponsor could walk. And in this brutal economy, losing yet another sponsor is the last thing DEI could afford, figuratively or literally.(Ford Racing)
OWNERS POINTS: another question not answered: what happens to the #15 team and #01 team OWNERS points, both easily in the top-35? No idea yet, they could be sold or transferred in separate deals. Could end up with Richard Childress Racing for the new #33 team that Clint Bowyer will drive for in 2009 as RCR will NOT be transferring the owners points from the #07 team. So no word yet what will happen to the #15 or #01 owners points....yet.(11-15-2008)
- More on Earnhardt-Ganassi Merger: A key player in the merger was Dodge Motorsports, which gave its blessing to team owner Chip Ganassi to pursue the partnership with a Chevy organization. "Number one, we want all of our business partners to be healthy like we want to be healthy,'' said Mike Delahanty, the senior manager of Dodge Motorsports. "Under these unprecedented times there are business solutions that no one ever thought possible. The blessing is, 'Chip, we want you to be healthy and viable long-term. We want you to have a business plan that does that. Bring us a business plan that does that and we'll talk about it, even if means letting him go.''' Sources close to the situation said the teams are expected to compete under the Chevy/General Motors banner of DEI. That would leave Dodge with three cars in Penske Racing, three in Gillett Evernham Motorsports and one or two in Petty Enterprises. Martin Truex Jr. [#1] and Aric Almirola [#8] will remain the drivers from the DEI side and Juan Pablo Montoya [#42] will be kept from Ganassi. The driver of the fourth car [# 41] will be named at a future date. AJ Allmendinger, Scott Riggs and Regan Smith are among the candidates for that seat.(ESPN.com)(11-13-2008)
- OFFICIAL - Earnhardt and Ganassi Form New Four-Car Team: Two of motorsports’ biggest names – Earnhardt and Ganassi – will launch a four-car team beginning in 2009 through the combination of the motorsports operations of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Inc. (CGRFS). NASCAR stars Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the #1 and #42 respectively and future star Aric Almirola will be behind the wheel of the #8. The driver of the #41 will be named in the near future. “In this ultra-competitive era of NASCAR, it is necessary to build and sustain the strongest team possible and our combining with the people and equipment at Dale Earnhardt Inc. will help create a strong four-car program for years to come,” said Chip Ganassi. “This is a win-win for both organizations as well as all of our partners.”
“Having a partner like Chip who is heavily involved on the competition side of the business is an ideal situation for DEI,” Teresa Earnhardt said. “He has a long history of managing championship teams in the IndyCar and Rolex Grand-Am Series and I share his passion and goals of winning races and ultimately championships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I think this is a case where we are stronger together than we are apart.” Details of the new four-car operation will be announced at a future date.
For more information log onto www.chipganassiracing.com and www.daleearnhardtinc.com.(CGRFS PR)(11-12-2008)
- Latest DEI/Ganassi merger news UPDATE 2: The Chip Ganassi-Teresa Earnhardt merger may be back on, with Ganassi the on-track presence for what would be a two-car DEI operation, under the Chevy banner. Earnhardt needs a second team sponsorship in order to keep her Chevrolet technology deal. However, why Ganassi would really want to merge is unclear, and how Ganassi might get out of his contract with Dodge is also unclear. Regardless of what happens with the possible merger, Ganassi is expected to pair #42-Juan Pablo Montoya with his full Target sponsorship, and DEI's #8-Aric Almirola would get the 12-race Wrigley's sponsorship. That would leave #01-Regan Smith the odd-man out at DEI.(Winston-Salem Journal)(11-12-2008)
UPDATE: The long-speculated partnership between Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates now appears to be imminent. Sources close to the situation tell Sirius Speedway that while the deal cannot technically be classified as a merger, an announcement is expected within the next few days regarding a competitive and economic partnership between the two teams. The deal will allow DEI and Ganassi to field at least three cars next season with drivers Martin Truex, Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya and Aric Almirola. A fourth car is possible, dependant on sponsorship. There is no word on potential manufacturer affiliations, with DEI currently aligned with Chevrolet, and Ganassi in the Dodge camp.(SIRIUS Speedway/Motorsports Soapbox), am hearing Chevy will be the manufacturer of the 'team'.(11-12-2008)
UPDATE 2: Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi will combine their slumping race teams next season, an effort to stabilize their organizations in a tough economic time. The combined team will be called Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and will field cars for Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, Juan Pablo Montoya and a driver yet to be named, two people familiar with the decision told the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal has yet to be announced. Both organizations have struggled to secure sponsorship this season, forcing the teams to pool resources. Truex and Almirola will come from Dale Earnhardt Incorporated; only Truex's car has full sponsorship for next season. Montoya has half a season of sponsorship, and Ganassi's flagship #41 has full sponsorship but no driver. DEI fields Chevrolets, and Ganassi has a Dodge contract. Details of a manufacturer switch still are being worked out as the team is expected to use General Motors.(Associated Press)(11-12-2008)
- Latest Ganassi merger rumor? Petty? UPDATE4 negotiations fell thru?:Trying to pin down the state of Petty Enterprises, under its new Boston Ventures' management, and the future of the Chip Ganassi operation has been tough enough the last few weeks, but now the speculation of a GM-Chrysler corporate merger has thrown things into a real tizzy. Insiders at both the Petty and Ganassi Dodge camps say there is speculation that the two struggling teams may somehow merge, and that that speculation is fueled by the sense that fellow Dodge owner George Gillett, who has majority interest in Gillett-Evernham-Motorsports, is "99 percent" certain to jump to Toyota. Ray Evernham was Dodge's mainstay in NASCAR racing, making such a move highly unusual. Dodge officials a few weeks ago denied such a change might be coming. One major complication for Dodge teams like Petty's and Ganassi's is that Gillett-Evernham has been a major Dodge engine operation. If Gillett moves to Toyota, then Dodge loses a very big player.(Winston-Salem Journal)(10-12-2008)
UPDATE: hearing that a Ganassi-Petty Enterprises merger is still possible with Target being the sponsor for Bobby Labonte in the #43. With #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #44-Chad McCumbee as teammates and a possible 4th team with Kyle Petty running part time in the #45.(10-21-2008)
UPDTE 2 - DEI?: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is negotiating with several organizations, including Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises. "We're talking to a lot of different people," Sabates said on Tuesday. "We're keeping our options open. Obviously, the way things are going today with sponsors, unless you have the sponsors you can't run. We only have a sponsor for the 41 car [Target] and the 42 [Wrigley's Big Red/Juicy Fruit] for half a year. We're looking at all possibilities." DEI and Petty Enterprises are in similar situations. DEI has only the #1 car of Martin Truex Jr. fully sponsored for next season, with partial sponsors in line for the #8 and none for its other two cars. Petty Enterprises is looking for sponsors for the #43 and 44 that is expected to replace the #45. So how would a merger with DEI help Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates? "They have a sponsor for one and a half cars and we have a sponsor for one and a half cars, that makes three cars, doesn't it?" Sabates said. "The same thing with Petty. They've got one car. There are other people out there, too." The biggest stumbling block for DEI to merge with Ganassi or Petty may be manufacturer permission. DEI is under contract with General Motors to field Chevys and the other two are under contract with Dodge/Chrysler. The proposed merger between GM and Chrysler could help that situation, but there remain other obstacles on both sides. "Everything is up in the air," Sabates said. "We're just talking in theory. We don't know what is going to happen. We don't have anything concrete with anybody. And I'm not saying we will do anything."(ESPN.com)(11-4-2008)
UPDATE 3: An alliance is in the works that would combine the #s 1 and 8 Chevys at DEI with the #s 41 and 42 of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates next season. The newly combined outfit would boast a lineup consisting of Martin Truex Jr., with Bass Pro Shops sponsorship, Juan Pablo Montoya, with Wrigleys sponsorship, and Aric Almirola. Ganassi still has a deal in place with sponsor Target, but it is unknown right now whether that will be for Almirola or for a yet-to-be-determined fourth driver. Ganassi could offer the presence of an at-track, hands-on owner, an important element that's been missing at DEI since the death of its founder Dale Earnhardt. Ganassi won four titles in Champ Car and two titles as an owner in the IRL IndyCar Series, including this season. Ganassi's current contract with Dodge extends through 2010. Given the economic climate and uncertainty of the Dodge program beyond 2009, the move would align Ganassi with Chevrolet for next year and beyond. Max Siegel, president of global operations declined comment on the report.(FoxSports)(11-5-2008)
UPDATE4: hearing that DEI and Ganassi are not going to merge after meeting Wednesday and there was no deal and negotiations are off.(11-7-2008)
- DEI and Petty merger? UPDATE 2: Talks about a possible merger between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises are under way, according to sources familiar with the situation, and Wells Fargo's sponsorship money could be key to making something happen. However, the economic chaos that is wracking the country is also playing havoc with so many suddenly struggling NASCAR teams that it's unclear how any of the various scenarios might actually play out. And just what positives might even come out of a DEI-Petty merger aren't that clear, either. Richard Petty sold a "significant" stake this summer in Petty Enterprises, the family racing operation in business since 1949, to Boston Ventures, a private equity firm. Precisely how that joint NASCAR venture might fit into any DEI-Petty merger is unclear, considering the financial problems of many Wall Street investment firms. Petty Enterprises is looking for a 2009 sponsor for Bobby Labonte, who drives the legendary #43 car. #45-Kyle Petty, the other Petty driver, has been at odds apparently with some of the team's executives, and he appears to have the option to take the Wells Fargo sponsorship with him to another team. If Kyle Petty were to leave, that would, for the moment, leave Petty Enterprises with no major sponsors.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-17-2008)
UPDATE: Robbie Loomis said Petty Enterprises has been approached by at least three organizations about a possible alliance heading into next season. The vice president of racing operations, speaking Friday at Martinsville Speedway, would not identify them, but published reports say Dale Earnhardt Inc. might be on that list. DEI officials declined to comment. Loomis said the Pettys' deal with Dodge extends three years past this one. DEI signed an extension with General Motors/Chevrolet before this season. Loomis said Petty Enterprises is closer to naming a sponsor for Labonte, and he appears close to set on Chad McCumbee to drive the second car, which will be the #44. He said the key in all of this is continued growth of the Petty brand, which a merger with DEI may or may not allow.(ESPN.com)
AND Officials from Petty Enterprises do not deny that they have held preliminary discussions about a possible future partnership of some sort with Dale Earnhardt Inc., but they strongly deny that anything is close to happening or even likely to happen. In fact, Robbie Loomis said that DEI is not the only group with which Petty Enterprises is discussing its future. Nor is it alone in the Sprint Cup Series garage area, where Loomis insisted all teams are scrambling to find stronger footing in difficult economic times. "The bottom line for us is that we're committed to Dodge," Loomis said. "We like Dodge as our manufacturer; Richard Petty especially. We have three more years with them as far as solid commitments. We feel good about where we're at with them."(NASCAR.com)(10-18-2008)
UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprises appears on track to merge – somehow – with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which would turn the Petty Dodges into Chevrolets….apparently. Or maybe it’s just Kyle Petty ‘merging.’ Richard Petty Sunday didn’t have much to say about the DEI report; he didn’t deny the talks, but he insisted he didn’t have to panic about things: “We did our panicking last year. That’s why we did the deal with Boston Ventures. We’re ahead of the curve.” However there appears to be considerable internal disagreement between the father and son about the next business steps to take, though #43-Bobby Labonte still has no sponsor for 2009, and Kyle Petty himself apparently is looking to leave Petty Enterprises at the end of the year and take the company’s only full sponsor, Wells Fargo, with him.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008)
- DEI working on the future: Max Siegel, Bobby Hutchens and John Story are trying to hold Dale Earnhardt Inc. together, rebuild it and find solid sponsorships for 2009 in a dismal economic climate. Siegel heard the rumors that swirled through the Lowe's Motor Speedway garage last weekend, including the one that DEI was on the verge of laying off 80 employees after losing Paul Menard and the John Menard and U.S. Army sponsorships. But Siegel says he's doing his best to put together the sponsorship deals to keep DEI running smoothly. "Since I've been with DEI, we've had to deal with perception issues," said Siegel, a two-year veteran with the operation. "But we've got great people and great facilities. Right now, today, it is an interesting dynamic. If you look at the company and our infrastructure and the people who have been there a long time, and look at how our cars have been running, we have made some impressive gains. Last year people were killing us about our engines, so we've made a concerted effort to focus on our joint engine venture (with fellow owner Richard Childress). And there has definitely been improvement."
"We're running four team cars ‘til the end of the year (with #1-Martin Truex Jr., #01-Regan Smith, #8-Aric Almirola and #15-Menard). And our intent is to run four cars again next year … but we are going to be fiscally responsible So right now any of the deals that are out there, we're trying to put those together. And we're wide-open as to how we can sustain a healthy race program. We have some very resilient people … but it's the end of the year, and everyone is on pins and needles, trying to figure out what the future may bring."
Cutting 80 people? Siegel says he heard the rumors. "That's not our intent, but I was hearing it, too," he said. "Over the last two years, we've done some things and made some investments to strengthen our racing program. Sure, people tend to speculate when you see a sponsor leave." And rivals are not above creating such speculation in order to pluck off key employees. "My heart goes out to all 400 of our employees who work so hard every week," Siegel said. "And I am doing the best I can to sustain a level of confidence in our company and reassure everyone that we are doing everything we can to keep it healthy. And we have no imminent plans to lay off any people or shut down any of our race teams."(Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2008)
- Special helmet for Smith at LMS: Doug Warf, Director of Community Relations and Executive Director of the Kids ‘N Community Foundation for the Carolina Hurricanes, announced that NASCAR driver #01-Regan Smith will wear a special Carolina Hurricanes-themed helmet on Saturday, Oct. 11, during the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Smith is wearing the Hurricanes-themed helmet this weekend to draw attention to the start of the 2008-09 NHL season, and will donate the helmet to the Kids ‘N Community Foundation for a charity auction following the race. The 25-year-old driver of DEI/Principal Financial Group’s #01 Chevy, is in the hunt for Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year honors, and is coming off of a controversial finish in last weekend’s AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. Smith is a self-proclaimed “Caniac,” who moved to Mooresville, NC, in 1995 from his hometown of Cato, NY.(hurricanes.nhl.com)(10-11-2008)
- Dan Stillman named Wypall Crew Chief of the Race in Talladega: Dan Stillman, crew chief of the #01 DEI/Principal Financial Group Chevy driven by Regan Smith, was named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for Sunday's strong performance in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. After qualifying in the fourth position, Smith and the Stillman-led team went on to display a remarkable performance throughout the entire 500-mile race. Running in the top-10 for the latter part of the race, Smith was in second place on the final lap when he attempted to pass race leader Tony Stewart. Stewart moved up the track to block the #01, but Smith forced his way to the inside, beating Stewart to the checkered flag. NASCAR officials ruled that Smith had passed Stewart by going below the yellow line. They penalized Smith and the #01 team, crediting them with an 18th place finish. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(10-9-2008)
- Menard to leave DEI UPDATE: Paul Menard will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the season to drive for Yates Racing, The Associated Press has learned. Menard is expected to announce Tuesday that both he and his sponsorship will move to Yates, a person familiar with Menard's decision told The AP. The person requested anonymity because Menard had yet to make his announcement. DEI officials were not immediately available to comment Monday night. Without Menard, DEI has just one full sponsor in Bass Pro Shops for #1-Martin Truex Jr. He recently agreed to a one-year extension with DEI that takes him through 2009. Sponsorship from the U.S. Army is expected to leave DEI at the end of the year - perhaps for Tony Stewart's new team [#39-Ryan Newmani s runored] - and that leaves DEI without funding for the #8 Chevy that Aric Almirola will pilot. #01-Regan Smith, the fourth driver in DEI's current stable, has had very limited sponsorship all season. Yates has been fielding two cars this year with no full-time sponsorship. Instead, it's pieced together several different limited programs for #38-David Gilliland and #28-Travis Kvapil while receiving support from Roush Fenway Racing.(in part from the Associated Press), hearing an announcement could come sometime this week.(9-29-2008)
UPDATE: Menard's presence secures them [Yates Racing] funding for at least one full-time team in 2009, but will mean the axe for either #28-Travis Kvapil or #38-David Gilliland if enough sponsorship isn't found to expand to three cars. In the meantime, contraction is now almost a certainty for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., who now must find sponsors for Menard's #15, Regan Smith's #01, and Aric Almirola's #8. A source tells Frontstretch.com Smith's #01 has been floated around to possible investors, and it's almost a certainty Smith will not return to the team in 2009. Menard and DEI could not be reached for comment.(Frontstretch)(9-30-2008)
- DEI names Hutchens VP of Competition: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has named NASCAR veteran Bobby Hutchens vice president of competition. Hutchens, who previously served as general manager of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines after a long tenure with Richard Childress Racing, will oversee all competition efforts at Dale Earnhardt Inc., including its four Sprint Cup teams. Hutchens' new position came as the result of a joint decision between DEI and RCR. The championship-winning NASCAR racing organizations have a long history of
successful collaboration including, among others, ECR Engines and the RAD aerodynamics program that also included Andy Petree Racing. Hutchens, who graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1982, is highly regarded in Sprint Cup racing for his research, development and computer testing accomplishments. Hutchens has managed and developed all facets of RCR's R&D program, while overseeing RCR's engineering, engines, engine R&D, manufacturing, chassis R&D and aerodynamics programs. He was named general manager of ECR Engines when the program was put together in May 2007.(DEI PR)(8-12-2008)
- Smith talks about missing Watkins Glen: Statement from Rookie-of-the-Year leader #01-Regan Smith regarding not running this weekend at Watkins Glen "The guys put a great deal of effort into the entry, and I appreciate that they tried to accommodate my desire to race in front of my hometown fans in upstate New York. I'll be there to support Ron (Fellows) and my guys any way I can, and I look
forward to getting back in the car next week at Michigan".(DEI PR)(8-9-2008)
- DEI to field Fellows in #01; Smith to #81 UPDATE2: Coming off his sixth career NASCAR win last weekend at Montreal, veteran road course specialist Ron Fellows will pilot the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #01 Chevy in the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 10. Leading rookie-of-the-year candidate Regan Smith will drive the #81 DEI entry in the race and be back in the #01 car the following week at Michigan. Fellows drove the #01 car in a strong performance at Sonoma earlier this year. The veteran driver was running top-five when he was caught up in a late-race accident. Prior to that, he was no stranger to Dale Earnhardt Inc., having competed in road course races for DEI in 2003-04. He finished seventh in 2003 at Infineon and second at Watkins Glen in 2004 in the DEI #01 Chevy. This will be Fellows’ 47th NASCAR start. The road course ace has compiled six wins, 13 top-fives, 17 top-10s and five poles in 46 combined starts in NASCAR’s top three series. This will be Fellows' 11th Sprint Cup start at Watkins Glen International, where he has finished top five on three previous occasions, including second there in the DEI #1 car in 2004. In addition, Fellows has started eight Nationwide races at The Glen, having led 189 laps, with three wins, four top-five and five top-10 finishes.(DEI PR)(8-5-2008)
UPDATE: hearing that DEI has decided not to field a 5th team for Regan Smith at Watkins Glen and the #81 will be or has been withdrawn.(8-6-2008)
UPDATE2: DEI has withdrawn the entry of its #81 Sprint Cup car for Regan Smith for Watkins Glen this weekend after NASCAR informed the team that it couldn’t put Smith in that car because of the four-team limit. Teams are permitted to enter a fifth car for a maximum of seven races for a rookie to get the driver familiar with Sprint Cup competition. Smith, an upstate New York native, has 20 starts this year, and NASCAR determined he did not fit the criteria for the fifth-car exception, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Wednesday. DEI would have been allowed to put Aric Almirola in that car because Almirola has five starts this year, Tharp said. Almirola, who will take over driving the #8 car next season, already was entered in the #8 car for The Glen in place of veteran Mark Martin, who is driving the majority of the Cup races this year while Almirola fills in the rest. “We brought it to their attention that [Smith] would not be permitted to run in the fifth car,” Tharp said. “We told them they could move Aric Almirola into that fifth entry. They went back to discuss it and decided not to enter the fifth car.”(SceneDaily)(8-7-2008)
- Richert's contract with DEI includes unique confidentiality, charity clauses: Dale Earnhardt Inc. required crew chief Doug Richert to endorse the Dale Earnhardt Foundation and required him to keep information learned about the Earnhardt family while he was a crew chief confidential as part of his contract with the team. The contract was entered as an exhibit to a lawsuit DEI filed in North Carolina court to rule that it had proper cause to fire Richert earlier this season and no longer owes money to him. DEI filed the complaint July 18 in North Carolina Superior Court. DEI fired Richert after the Richmond race this year, and its complaint states that it has received notification from Richert’s attorney claiming a breach of contract. The DEI complaint states that Richert’s 2008 salary was $475,000 plus $50,000 in guaranteed bonuses. It said it fired Richert for poor performance of the car, his failure to work with the other crew chiefs and for not following procedure in ordering parts. DEI Vice President John Story said he could not comment on the suit. Richert did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Richert had signed a three-year deal with DEI last December to be the crew chief of the #01 team, driven by Regan Smith this year. He has a nine-month non-compete clause following termination of the contract. The contract appears fairly typical for crew chiefs and includes a confidentiality section over technical data as well as a morals clause.
But there are a few items unique to DEI:
• In the confidentiality section, confidential information includes “all personal and/or non-public matters relating to Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, or their families, experiences or circumstances” gathered during his employment. Richert also was not allowed to write a book, short story, article or screenplay based on his experiences and cannot participate in any interviews relating to DEI, Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt and their families. He was allowed to do at-track interviews that focus on the car or drivers and their performance as it relates to the race.
• Richert also agreed to a clause to “endorse the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation shall be the primary, non-religious charity to which Employee principally devotes Employee’s support and the time Employee spends on charitable matters.” He also agreed to do free appearances on behalf of the Dale Earnhardt Foundation.(SceneDaily)(7-31-2008)
- Regan Smith wins at Riverside: Regan Smith not only made good on his promise in 2007 to return for the 2008 Carquest Pro Stock Tour IWK 250 - but his promise to win the race. Smith delighted over 10,000 fans at Riverside International Speedway Saturday night with a NASCAR-style celebration after taking the checkered flag. Fellow DEI driver Aric Almirola finished 7th in the race.(CheckerstoWreckers.com)(7-21-2008)
- Earnhardt Jr. not interested in buying DEI: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted at least 51 percent of Dale Earnhardt Inc. last season before he opted for a fresh start at Hendrick Motorsports. If the company were up for sale now? "I don't mean this in a bad way, but I would not have any interest in purchasing it," Earnhardt said following Thursday's first practice at Chicagoland Speedway. "I would not have any interest in purchasing any race team, just to have the ownership." The subject was broached because of an Internet report earlier in the week that claimed DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt had commissioned the investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. to locate a buyer or financial partner. DEI president Max Siegel refuted the report, saying the company is not for sale.(ESPN.com)(7-11-2008)
- #01 car soon to be 'sidelined'? other DEI stuff: ....however Regan Smith, the promising rookie who may not have any sponsorship next season at DEI, will apparently soon be sidelined; Mark Martin is leaving DEI at the end of the season to join Rick Hendrick; Martin Truex Jr. is trying to leave DEI at the end of the year, though that legal issue is still up in the air; and Paul Menard’s wealthy father John is reported talking with Ford’s Jack Roush apparently about moving his financial NASCAR stake there, presumably with Paul Menard driving a Roush-Yates Ford in 2009. That only leaves DEI with newcomer Aric Almirola.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2008)
- Teresa Earnhardt Looking to sell DEI? UPDATE 2 Reports Refuted: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway is reporting today that Teresa Earnhardt has enlisted the services of Bear, Stearns and Company [actally there is no more Bear Stearns as JP Morgan aquired them] to find a buyer -- or at least a major financial investor -- for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Bear Stearns is an investment bank, securities trading and brokerage firm based in New York City, and has been charged with finding a buyer for the entire operation. Barring that, Earnhardt is said to be interested in selling at least a minority interest in the team. DEI President of Global Operations Max Siegel declined to comment on the story when contacted earlier today.(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
UPDATE: Max Siegel, President of Global Operations at DEI is currently in negotiations with major investors to buy Teresa Earnhardt out of DEI, a source close to the negotiations said Monday. It appears now that Teresa is finally willing to sell, and Siegel is working diligently with a number of potential investors to take the company over. Sources said Siegel would not just be buying a portion of DEI or a controlling interest, rather, he would be buying the entire company. Sources said, Teresa has agreed to walk away from the company entirely for the right price. That price is supposedly somewhere between $115-$130 million dollars. With one exception...Teresa would retain the rights to all "Dale Earnhardt' and 'Intimidator' rights and merchandise sales. Siegel would only be buying the DEI race teams, and real estate including all race shops and the DEI headquarters in Mooresville, NC. Sources said Siegel is very serious about the purchase and appears to have investors salivating over the opportunity to own the legendary team. In addition, Teresa has grown more frustrated with NASCAR nation following her fall-out with the sports most popular driver, and wants nothing more than to be out of the public eye for good.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008)
UPDATE 2 reports refuted: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is not for sale -- right now. DEI president Max Siegel on Tuesday refuted an Internet report that company owner Teresa Earnhardt had commissioned investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. to locate a buyer or financial investment partner. "We have not engaged Bear, Stearns or Goldman Sachs or anyone else," Siegel said. "We are contacted all the time by outside firms about getting involved in the sport. We are not for sale right now. Nothing is imminent. Are we constantly weighing that as an option? Does that make sense? Quite frankly, we don't know," Siegel said. "Every team is looking for a way to bring in appropriate resources. Every single one. We haven't engaged anybody. People obviously approach us -- they're approaching everybody. We're looking to be around for a long time in future. We're feeling pretty damn good about where we're going, competition-wise." Siegel was forced to approach his driving corps with assurance that the team is currently not for sale. "I have assured them it's not true," Siegel said.(ESPN.com)(7-8-2008)
- Hard Rock to sponsor a DEI car? DEI is also working diligently to lock up sponsors for next season. Rumors have been swirling that they may lose their U.S. Army sponsorship on Martin’s #8 car, a car that will be driven by rookie Aric Almirola next year, to Red Bull and Scott Speed. If that happens, DEI hopes to be ready with another sponsor to step in. That sponsor may be the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s. Sources said early Sunday that Max Siegel, President of Global Operations for DEI, had met throughout the weekend in Daytona Beach, FL with representatives from the Hard Rock about possible sponsorship opportunities with DEI. They could replace the U.S. Army should they bail and head to Red Bull, or they could end up on the #01 of Regan Smith.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008)
- First Daytona pole for DEI: #15-Paul Menard's Pole in the qualifying session for the Coke Zero 400 is the first by any Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, the pole is the first by a DEI driver in the Sprint Cup Series at
either of the two NASCAR restrictor plate tracks (Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway). Menard will start alongside Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammate Mark Martin in the race. The second-place qualifying effort is Martin's best at Daytona since 1990 and his best at a restrictor plate track since qualifying second at Talladega in 1991.(DEI PR)(7-5-2008)
- DEI could cut back to 3 teams in 2009: Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Vice President of Motorsports Operations John Story said Sunday morning at Infineon Raceway that the team ... is still looking for a sponsor for the #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith. If no sponsor is found, Story said, the team will cut back to three cars.(SPEEDtv.com)(6-23-2008)
- Fellows to run the #01 at Infineon: Veteran road course specialist Ron Fellows will pilot the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #01 Chevy in the Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 22 with a goal of scoring maximum car owner points in the event. Leading rookie-of-the-year candidate Regan Smith will be back in the car the following week at Loudon [New Hampshire]. "We're very proud of the job Regan is doing and our commitment to him has not changed," said John Story, Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice president of motorsports. "The progress of the #01 team has been significant. We have a team around Regan now that communicates well together and we expect to see more of the improvement they've already made in the second half of the season. Our goal for Regan remains winning the rookie of the year title and building momentum that we hope will carry us into 2009. Ron has a successful history with DEI and he certainly knows his way around Infineon. The opportunity to capitalize on his experience and abilities against some of the other road course experts is our objective." Fellows, who ran road courses for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2003-04, boasts 17 Cup starts in his career, with the majority coming on road courses. He finished second at Watkins Glen in 2004 and seventh in 2003 at Infineon, both in the DEI #1 car. The specialist ran both road courses last season, finishing inside the top 15 in both outings, including a fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen. Included as part of his esteemed career in road racing, Fellows boasts three wins in 12 starts in the Nationwide Series and two wins in the Craftsman Truck Series.(DEI PR)(6-15-2008)
- No plans to shut down the #01 team: #01-Regan Smith isn’t listening to rumors about his team’s future. He’s just focusing on getting better. Smith’s team doesn’t have full sponsorship and is running a DEI logo on the hood this weekend. Smith is 32nd in driver points and the team is 32nd in owner points. The team changed crew chiefs in mid-May and Dan Stillman is entering his second week as the full-time crew chief. “The past five weeks, [we] have really started getting some good consistency down and especially the past couple of weeks here, we’ve actually run better than where we’ve finished,” Smith said Friday. “For a team coming from where we came from at the beginning of the year to now that’s a good thing. And for me as a driver that’s a good thing because I was beating myself up, and you question if you can do it or if everything you’re doing is wrong or what’s going on. It’s good for all of us. It’s just rumors,” Smith said about talk that DEI might shut down the 01 team. “They’ve been out there all year long and I’m sure they’ll be out there to the end of the season and all that stuff. That’s fine. We know what the situation is and I’ve talked to Teresa [Earnhardt] and management numerous times and I know the situation. The race car is going to be on the race track and that’s all that matters.”(SceneDaily)(6-8-2008)
- New crew chief for the #01 team UPDATE: Doug Richert, crew chief for Regan Smith, has left Dale Earnhardt Inc. and will be replaced on the #01 team by Kevin Buskirk this weekend, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Richert joined DEI this season after leaving Red Bull Racing in 2007. Smith is 33rd in the Sprint Cup points standings, lowest among the four DEI drivers. Buskirk, who has been leading DEI’s testing program, will be the crew chief in this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and a full-time replacement will be named later.(SceneDaily)(5-21-2008)
UPDATE: Today [Tues, May 27] on "SIRIUS Speedway" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with Regan Smith, driver of the #01 Chevy at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Smith indicated that his new crew chief would be Dan Stillman. Stillman would replace Doug Richert, who left the team after the May 17 All-Star Race.
Host, Dave Moody: "I don't want to get slid here on the breaking news. They're not going to announce in, like, four hours who your new crew chief is, are they?"
Regan Smith: "You know what, I'm not positive on that. I don't think so but maybe."
Moody: "Do you know who it is?"
Smith: "Possibly. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to say anything yet but if I were to tell you Dan Stillman you didn't hear it from me. I'm excited about Dan coming over and got a chance to talk to him last week some and really think highly of him. And, you know, he's been at DEI before so he knows the company, knows a lot of people who work here and [I'm] looking forward to working with him this weekend."
"SIRIUS Speedway" airs weekdays (3:00 - 7:00pm/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128.(5-27-2008)
- Steak-umm debut at Richmond: #01-Regan Smith and his team will be unveiling a new sponsor at Richmond -- Steak-umm, the best known sandwich steak brand in the country. The company is using a special Steak-umm paint scheme on the #01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet to promote their burgers.(DEI), see image of the scheme on my #01 Team Schemes page.(5-1-2008)
- No Blank Car For Sponsor-Seeking #01: The #01 DEI Chevy of Regan Smith may be short on sponsorship, but don't expect a blank car to show up at the track resembling Yates Racing entries. Instead of running a plain scheme to highlight the need to find more sponsorship, DEI Vice President of Motorsports Operations John Story said the team has decided instead to "sweeten" its deal with Principal Financial Group, who initially just signed as a full-season associate sponsor with a handful of races as the primary. "We've discussed, do you leave the car blank, do you do what Yates has done and say, 'SponsorYates.com and call us,' and we believe it can actually work against you in many ways," Story told the Press. "If you left the car white, a sponsor may in fact say, 'Hey, that's a great car and they've got space available, let's call.' Or they may say, 'Nobody else is sponsoring that car. Why should we? Is there something wrong with them?'" Recently, the car has run with the DEI logo on the hood, but with the Principal signage on the rear quarterpanels and back. In addition, Smith has worn the Principal firesuit and referred to the company in interviews as if it's any other primary sponsor. Story doesn't believe that DEI is devaluing the sponsorship long-term by giving Principal more than it's paying for. He also doesn't think the No. 01 is missing out on the opportunity to attract new sponsors by not running a blank car, saying that DEI is in discussions with companies about sponsorship for this year and beyond.(Long Islans Press)(4-21-2008)
- Coors Light to the #01 car in 2008? UPDATE: hearing Coors could be a sponsor of the #01 DEI team in 2008.(9-9-2007)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #01 Chevy driven by Rookie of the Year candidate Regan Smith will feature a special paint scheme from Coors Light, "The World's Most Refreshing Beer" and official beer of NASCAR and NASCAR fans everywhere. The Coors Light and NASCAR logos will run on the car for this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California
Speedway and the March 2nd UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Beginning this month, adult race fans can enter for a chance to win the ultimate fan weekend at a NASCAR-sanctioned race. The "Four Day NASCAR Weekend" includes access to NASCAR events that only Coors Light can offer, including Coors Light Pole Day and a VIP experience all weekend long. For more information about Coors Light's official NASCAR sponsorship, as well as race schedules, race weekend promotions, and more see coorslight.com/racing.(DEI)(2-21-2008)
- Principal Financial Group expands sponsorship of DEI: The Principal Financial Group, the nation's 401 and employee benefits leader, announced its expanded relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI). The Principal has agreed to a multi-race primary sponsorship involving DEI's #8 Chevy, co-driven by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola and the #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith during the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. The Principal will also serve as an associate sponsor on both cars for the entire Sprint Cup season.
"Rookie-of-the-year" candidate #01-Regan Smith will drive the Principal Financial Group Chevrolet Feb. 17 at the Daytona 500 and again July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Mark Martin will represent The Principal in the #8 Chevrolet at California Speedway February 24 in what will be Martin's 700th career Cup Series start. This marks the third season for The Principal as Sprint Cup Series team sponsor, and the second year that Mark Martin and Regan Smith will race in the Principal Financial Group colors. The Principal first joined NASCAR in Aug. 2006 with MB2 Motorsports [Ginn Racing then DEI].. For more information, visit www.principal.com.(DEI PR)(2-15-2008)
- New sponsors for DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has secured two new sponsors for the 2008 season, Steak-umm and Cub Cadet. Both deals are for mostly associate positions on DEI cars but also involve primary positions in select Sprint Cup races. Terms of the deals were not available. Steak-umm's sponsorship will involve a full season of associate sponsorship on Mark Martin's #8 Chevy, as well as a primary for the June Pocono race. In May, Steak-umm will be the primary sponsor on DEI's #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith at Richmond. Cub Cadet, which also has status as NASCAR's official outdoor power equipment, has bought associate space on Martin Truex Jr.'s #1 Chevy with a primary planned for the Chicagoland race in July. Charlotte-based Camp Strategy represented Cub Cadet. There's also a business-to-business component, which involves Bass Pro Shops, the yearlong primary on Truex's car, possibly selling Cub Cadet equipment in its stores. .(Sporting News/Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal)(1-15-2008)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced that they have secured Steak-umm Company LLC as a primary sponsor on the #8 and #01 Chevys for select races during the 2008 season, including the May Richmond Sprint Cup race with Regan Smith and the June Pocono Sprint Cup race with Mark Martin. Steak-umm will also serve as an associate sponsor on the #8 car for the full 2008 season. Steak-umm’s entry into the NASCAR sponsorship arena coincides with the company's introduction of Steak-umm Burgers, a new line of frozen burgers available in Original, Sweet Onion and Real Cheese varieties. It is also part of a broad new Steak-umm marketing initiative that began last year with national TV ads for the company's thinly sliced, portion-controlled frozen sandwich steaks.(DEI PR)(1-18-2008) Comment
- Sponsor for the #01? Dale Earnhardt Inc. has not announced sponsorship for its #01 Sprint Cup entry with driver Regan Smith, but it appears that one of the sponsors will be Principal Financial Services. Smith got into his car at testing Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway wearing a Principal Financial Services uniform, and the company logo graced the rear quarter panel of its car. The company's Web site was featured on the rear bumper. "Principal Financial and Dale Earnhardt Inc. have executed a letter of intent for a 2008 sponsorship relationship," DEI President Max Seigel said. "The details are still being worked through to make Principal Financial a primary and associate sponsor for DEI in 2008. Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Principal Financial will be making a proper announcement once the contract has been signed." DEI officials have said that they would piece together sponsorship from more than one company for the Smith car. DEI Vice President John Story said earlier this month that he could not confirm Principal as one of the team's sponsors.(SceneDaily). of note: Principal Financial Services was a associate and sometime primary on the #01 [and #13 and #14] with Ginn Racing, which merged with DEI in 2007.(1-14-2008)
- Richert to crew chief at DEI UPDATE: Crew chief Ryan Pemberton has left Dale Earnhardt Inc., and the team said Doug Richert will replace him beginning Wednesday. Pemberton was scheduled to lead the #8 Chevy that will be co-driven next season by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-12-2007)
UPDATE: Doug Richert told Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody Friday that he will serve as crewchief for Regan Smith's #01 Chevrolet at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008, and not for the Mark Martin/Aric Almirola driven #8 US Army Chevy, as has been widely reported.(Sirius Speedway), Tony Gibson was scheduled to crew chief the #01 Chevy, looks like he will stay as the #8 crew chief.(12-14-2007)
- Pemberton leaves DEI? UPDATE 4 MWR names 3 new crew chiefs: hearing that Dale Earnhardt Inc #8 crew chief, Ryan Pemberton [#01 in 2007 with DEI/Ginn Racing], could be heading to Penske Racing as the crew chief for #77 Sam Hornish Jr.(12-5-2007)
UPDATE: Crew chief Ryan Pemberton has left Dale Earnhardt Inc., and the team said Doug Richert will replace him beginning Wednesday. Pemberton was scheduled to lead the #8 Chevy that will be co-driven next season by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-12-2007)
UPDATE 2: hearing Pemberton has not spoken to Penske Racing about a job, but he is speaking with other teams and will make a quick decision.(12-13-2007)
UPDATE 3: A reliable inside source tells Rowdy.com that Ryan Pemberton is headed to Michael Waltrip Racing to become the crew chief for driver David Reutimann. Reutimann will start the year in the #00 before moving to the #44 car vacated by Dale Jarrett [when he retires] after the first five races of 2008.(Rowdy.com)(12-13-2007)
UPDATE 4: Michael Waltrip Racing announced its 2008 Sprint Cup Series crew chief lineup with the recent hiring of Paul Andrews, Bill Pappas and Ryan Pemberton. Andrews will serve as crew chief for Michael Waltrip and the #55 Napa Auto Parts Toyota Camry team. Pappas is assigned to the team, which will field the #44 UPS Ccmry for Dale Jarrett then become the #00 team at Martinsville when David Reutimann takes over the #44 UPS ride. Pemberton is the crew chief for David Reutimann, who will race the #00 Aaron’s Toyota Camry for five races before switching to the driver of the #44 UPS team. Pemberton and Reutimann will remain together through the transition. Jerry Baxter remains as crew chief of the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry driven by David Reutimann in the Nationwide [was Busch] Series. Michael Waltrip comments on 2008 crew chief lineup: “My vision of Michael Waltrip Racing becoming one of the elite organizations in NASCAR has not changed since the day I started this team. Over the past four months we have made significant moves to position ourselves for success with the addition of my new business partner Rob Kauffman, our Technical Director, Dr. Eric Warren, and EVP of Business Operations Cal Wells. Our logical next phase was to bring in race and championship winning crew chiefs to lead our teams. And we have done that with the addition of Paul Andrews, Bill Pappas and Ryan Pemberton. The degree of difficulty in our monumental start up in 2007 was evident and standing flat-footed heading into 2008 was not an option for us. I could not be more proud of the recent developments. MWR is here to stay and I think these moves show our commitment to long-term success.”(MWR PR)(12-14-2007)
- Richie Gilmore Back at Work: Richie Gilmore has returned to work and to his new job full time. Gilmore, Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s former vice president of competition, had suffered a mild stroke in early October. He is back at work as chief operating officer of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies.(SceneDaily.com)(12-11-2007)
- Martin's last race in the #01, 26 races in #8 in 2008: Mark Martin will run double duty again this weekend at Homestead. In addition to his duties in the #01 DEI Chevy on Sunday, he will make his third and final start of the season in the #5 Hendrick Chevy Busch entry. In two previous starts in the #5, Martin finished second at Darlington and 14th at Michigan. It will be Martin's fifth Busch start in 2007 (he started two races in the #06 Roush entry). Martin has two top-five finishes in four Busch starts this season. Martin has six top-five finishes in seven previous Busch starts at Homestead. Martin plans on running a similar Nextel Cup schedule in 2008 as he did in '07, making starts in approximately 26 races in the #8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, including the season-opening Daytona 500.(DEI PR)(11-15-2007)
- Some changes at DEI? New crew chief for Menard? UPDATE confirmed: hearing that Dave Charpentier, current Paul Menard's crew chief on the #15 Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc Chevy, will become DEI's Technical Director, overseeing the engineering support of the four Cup Teams [#01,#1,#8,#15] and development of DEI's race cars going forward. Also, hearing that Doug Randolph, current crew chief of Petty Enterprises #43 Dodge team that Bobby Labonte drives for, will become Paul Menard's crew chief of the #15 in 2008.(11-6-2007)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. continued to strengthen its motorsports operation with the promotion of several key industry experts and the addition of a veteran crew chief to its roster. Dave Charpentier, current crew chief of the #15 Menards Chevy, has been promoted to technical director, and Doug Randolph, current crew chief of the #43 Petty Enterprises car driven by Bobby Labonte, will take over as crew chief for Paul Menard and the #15. Charpentier, a long-time Dale Earnhardt Inc. employee, will oversee all aspects of engineering for the four-car Nextel Cup Series operation. He was trained as a nuclear engineer during a seven-year career in the United States Navy, and since 1989 has served in an engineering capacity with multiple NASCAR teams. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in nuclear science. Randolph is a University of Tennessee graduate and served as a crew chief at MB2 Motorsports/Ginn Racing for the previous four seasons. He will join the team on November 26. Walter Giles, current race engineer on the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, was named Director of Race Engineering and Jason Anderson was named Director of Design and Project Engineering. Giles and Anderson will report to Charpentier. In addition, Rex Garrett has been promoted to Director of Motorsports Operations. The nine-year Dale Earnhardt Inc. veteran will oversee the day-to-day activities of the race shop.(DEI PR)(11-8-2007)
- Four court cases against Ginn dismissed, settled? Former Ginn Racing drivers Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin as well as former crew chiefs Peter Sospenzo and Richard "Slugger" Labbe apparently have reached settlements with former team owner Bobby Ginn. All four cases - filed in North Carolina Superior Court in Concord, N.C. - have been dismissed, indicating that settlements have been reached. The drivers and crew chiefs were asking for the fulfillment of their contracts. The case files do not indicate how much they were paid, only that the drivers and crew chiefs have dismissed their claims. Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in July, leaving Nemechek, Marlin, Sospenzo and Labbe as well as several other crew members without jobs. There are still two lawsuits involving other crew members pending against Ginn.(SceneDaily.com)(11-6-2007)
- DEI's Gilmore back in hospital: Richie Gilmore, vice president of competition for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., is back in the hospital, four weeks after suffering a brain aneurysm, said DEI’s Vice President of Motorsports Operations, John Story. According to Story, Gilmore was scheduled to return to work at DEI on Monday, but after a medical examination was checked into a hospital in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area on Saturday. Sunday morning at Texas Motor Speedway, Story said he had no update on Gilmore’s condition or prognosis for when he might return to work. Gilmore suffered the aneurysm four weeks ago, prior to the Talladega race weekend. He was hospitalized briefly in Birmingham and then returned to his home in North Carolina.(SPEEDtv.com)(11-5-2007)
- Chevy Renews with DEI: Chevy will continue its partnership with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008 and beyond. "Chevy enjoyed a successful relationship, including six NASCAR Cup championships, with the legendary Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel of his Richard Childress Racing Chevy, and we're proud of our longstanding relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. which extends all the way back to when Dale and Teresa Earnhardt founded the business," said Ed Peper, Chevy general manager. "We're pleased to be a part of the DEI family and look forward to continued success with one of racing's leading organizations."(Chevy PR)(10-26-2007)
- Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing Merge; Official Announcement: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has become even stronger through a merger with Ginn Racing. Effective immediately, the team will feature the Chevys of #15-Paul Menard, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #01-Mark Martin and #01-Aric Almirola. Martin and Almirola will combine to drive the #01 Army Chevy for the remainder of the 2007 season as well as the entire 2008 season. Menard drives the Menards Chevy, Truex drives the Bass Pro Shops Chevy and Earnhardt handles driving duties of the Budweiser Chevy. All four entries are inside the top 35 in Nextel Cup points heading into this weekend's Brickyard 400. Regan Smith, who was originally slated to drive the Ginn Clubs and Resorts Chevy in the Brickyard 400, will instead compete in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park Friday night in the Ginn Resorts Chevy Silverado. Specific schedules for Martin, Smith and Almirola will be announced later. In addition to Nextel Cup Series competition, the company will continue to field entries in the Busch Series, the Busch East Series and will analyze its future involvement in the Craftsman Truck Series. The numerous teams of Dale Earnhardt Inc. will operate from both the original facility built by Dale and Teresa Earnhardt as well as the nearly 180,000-square-foot facility currently housing Ginn Racing's teams. The buildings are less than five miles apart in Mooresville, N.C. Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s current management team will be responsible for all day-to- day activities and transition plans have already begun to develop. John Story, vice president of motorsports operations for DEI will oversee the expansion of the company's racing efforts. In completing this merger, points on Ginn Racing's #13 car, which was 34th in Nextel Cup owner's points, have been eliminated.(Dale Earnhardt Inc PR), been told the #78 team will NOT be allowed to buy the points for the #13 car, so the #21 Ford supposedly will move up into the top 35 of owners pts and get the guaranteed spot. Bill Elliott will run the #21 car at Indy with Ken Schrader in the #49, no word yet if Schrader will return to the #21 at Pocono next week.(7-25-2007)