Dale Earnhardt Jr. in favor of DEI-Ganassi merger but not emotional about former team's demise

  • Article by: JENNA FRYER , Associated Press
  • Updated: November 14, 2008 - 10:48 PM

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not sentimental about the demise of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and he supports the company's partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Had this week's merger not happened, Earnhardt isn't sure DEI could have survived this current economic crisis. The team was formed by the late Dale Earnhardt in 1995 and was intended to be handed down to his children.

"It's good for them, I hope," he said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "It was going to be disappointing if they didn't merge. Next year would be a tough year. I just hope that they move forward."

NASCAR's most popular driver left DEI at the end of last season to drive for Hendrick Motorsports, citing a tense relationship with his stepmother, Teresa, and a lack of faith in the race team's direction.

It's been a rapid descent since, as the four-car team has lost sponsors and struggled to compete consistently.

He wouldn't speculate on what his father, who was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, would think of the merger or DEI's poor performance. But Earnhardt does believe his father would have had an easier time keeping the team among NASCAR's elite.

"He would have had better luck in securing the sponsorships that they currently have in this state," he said. "When my Daddy died, everything about everything changed. If he was here, it would be sad. But he's not, and everybody has to go do their own thing and make their own way. Everybody has got to take care of themselves. He ain't here to take care of everybody, so you gotta do it yourself, and that's that.

"I want them to succeed, I want them to be happy, I want it to work, but I can't exhaust any of my emotion over it because of what I've got going on myself."

Earnhardt, who made the Chase for the championship this season driving for Hendrick, runs his own Nationwide Series team and has been busy trying to secure sponsorship for his flagship No. 88 car that Brad Keselowski drives. The lack of funding forced him to lay off 20 percent of the JR Motorsports work force late last month.

Still, he's committed to keeping his team afloat and is pleased that Teresa Earnhardt took the necessary steps to keep her team running.

"I just think I ain't got much to say about it anymore. I did. But I'm so far removed from it, past it, a little bit farther removed from it, and I don't have the initial knee-jerk reaction about it no more when these types of things happen," Earnhardt said. "I'm more on the sidelines with everyone else now where I just view it from a distance. But I have an emotional connection with it. I want it to work and want it to do good, but a lot has changed.

"It's difficult to feel any real close connection to it anymore."

DEI has four cars this season but only one has full funding for next year. Ganassi started the year with three cars, folded Dario Franchitti's team in July and was headed into 2009 with 1.5 of his cars funded.

Combined, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be a four-car operation for Juan Pablo Montoya, Aric Almirola, Martin Truex Jr. and a driver yet to be named.

The union resulted in 100-plus layoffs at DEI earlier this week, with no guarantee more won't come. Although Earnhardt lamented the loss of jobs, he insisted they were coming regardless.

"They weren't going to run four teams next year, or three or whatever," he said. "You can't blame a single individual for the layoffs. The sport is going to have a lot of those."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 50 2nd Half 7:26
Chattanooga 57
Kansas 52 2nd Half 11:14
Rhode Island 38
Wisconsin 22 1st Half 6:56
Georgetown 23
FIU 22 1st Half 4:23
USC Upstate 22
Long Island 3 1st Half 17:39
Stony Brook 4
San Diego 3:30 PM
Xavier
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 23 1st Half 3:36
Washington 28
Wichita State 10 1st Half 6:33
Fla Gulf Coast 15
Wisconsin 3:15 PM
(1) South Carolina
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close