The Frontstretch: In This Age of "Perception," DEI Is In Intensive Care by Jeff Meyer -- Wednesday September 12, 2007

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In This Age of "Perception," DEI Is In Intensive Care

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday September 12, 2007


In this ever increasingly mixed up world, a world where "perception" seems to be valued over “truth,” the entity known as Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is in dire need of serious medical attention.


The biggest wound that DEI has suffered in 2007 is, of course, the well-documented divorce and subsequent family tiff that ultimately resulted in Dale Earnhardt, Jr. becoming employed by Rick Hendrick next season…not the family business he has always worked for. After that sort of major trauma, one would think that DEI would prefer to sort of “lay low” for awhile, taking stock and regrouping in preparation for life without a “Dale” in the mix.

That does not seem to be their strategy, though. Instead, they’ve chosen to grow the company; but of course, as is the case with any sort of expansion…there’s as much risk as reward.

Right now, risk has reared its ugly head.

Last week, I wrote about many of the mergers that have taken place this past year in the world of NASCAR. One that I did not mention, however, was the assimilation of Ginn Racing by DEI back in July.

While most of the other mergers seem to be well thought out business plans involving high-profile and powerful participants, the Ginn / DEI deal strikes me as more of a “jump on the merger bandwagon” type of thing. More important than that is the one thing that those that control DEI seem to have forgotten; the fact that when you assimilate another company, you also inherit their problems, as well.

Those issues have now been brought squarely into the public eye. With the dust of the Dale Jr. / DEI fracas barely settled, DEI is now named in a lawsuit brought on by Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek, of all people (and their crew chiefs, too). The lawsuit claims breach of contract, demanding payment for wages through the rest of the year after all parties listed were let go as part of the merger in July. As the complaint states, "Demand for payment has been made … but [Ginn and DEI] have failed and/or refused to pay all or any part…"

Faced with possible legal ramifications, officials at DEI still claim that it is not their problem; they were not involved in those contracts, and therefore, have placed the responsibility squarely on Bobby Ginn’s shoulders.

How convenient.

Now, I realize that Marlin and Nemechek's main beef is with Ginn Racing, but DEI's stance on the matter does not help their already “not so nice” image. Perhaps it needs to be pointed out to Teresa, or Max (Siegel), or whoever is running the show at DEI these days – as it was pointed out to me, many years ago (albeit AFTER the fact…) – "When you marry the girl, you marry the family.”

Bobby Ginn, whose post-merger role in DEI seems to be one of “Yeah, he has an office down the hall there somewhere,” says that he is surprised by the lawsuits, claiming he has Marlin and Nemechek fully paid up through August.

“This totally surprised me, and it looks to me like they are trying to ask for something over and above that they are just not entitled to,” Ginn said.

Hello, Bobby! This is Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek we're talking about here! Guys that, unlike many in the sport today, are old school racers who care more about the race than the pay! They’re two guys that are respected by peers and fans alike, and now Bobby Ginn – and DEI – want to assert that they are trying to fleece them?

Give me a break, DEI. Your image is tarnished enough without dragging this all out. Pay the men what is owed within their contracts and move on. It's not like they are asking for mega millions. (For more details on their contract, please check out Jayski’s Lawsuit page.). Anyways, from what I've read, 5 million ought to be more than enough to cover this whole deal. Isn’t that chump change for this organization?

I say, pay ‘em and move on. The future row that DEI is must hoe is going to the toughest in the company's history as it is; it would certainly behoove them to at least foster the "perception" of doing the right thing for the time being.

Stay off the wall, (and off the DEI payroll!)

Jeff Meyer

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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09/12/2007 09:09 PM

Ginn has indicated that he has paid the drivers through August and intends to pay the rest in accordance with their agreements. In addition, the crew chiefs had severance agreements that spell out their compensation packages. There is more than one side to every story, Mr. Meyer.

09/13/2007 05:54 AM

while, yes, there are two sides to each story, at this point in the public eye—-ANY negative coverage for DEI is disasterous!!! They may never (forgive us Dale) recover from a popularity standpoint!!!

Ron P
09/13/2007 07:14 AM

Which will be a the biggest team in Cup History to fail and fall off the face of the earth. Will it be DEI with Max Siegel and “She who must not be named” , Or When Bret Boddin bought the most successfull cup team at the time from Jr. Johnson, and promptly drove it in to oblivion? I wonder if DIE will have to sell off the 7 Post Shaker, to get themsevles out of this one. Either way Sterling and Joe got hosed, and now somebody is going to have to anty-up. Be it DIE or the Soon to declair bankruptcy Ginn (hey it worked for The Donald maybe it will work for Ginn).

09/13/2007 07:59 AM

Much ado about nothing. This story is a non issue. DEI is not invoved in the suit. They bought the Ginn team.I doubt they took on the added resposibility of making sure that ex-Ginn employees were paid as per agreements that they had no knowlege of. At any rate, trust me, DEI will thrive in the future. They already have a good start for 2008.Hoping that DEI fails just dishonors the memory of Dale Sr.

Butch Camp
09/13/2007 08:09 AM

I sympathyze with Marlin & Nemechek & the crew chief’s but according to other reports they have been compensated for their contract’s & at one point agreed to by all parties, it’s tough for them both because although they are both good drivers, like me age has caught up with them. Most teams in NASCAR now have development drivers as young as 14 & 15 years old, guy’s like even Jeff Gordon are nearing retirement age. It’s a shame what’s happening to NASCAR but time marches on.Sueing Ginn& DEI can’t bring back their youth, & I’ll bet that both are pretty well set financially already.

09/13/2007 08:26 AM

DEI will be FINE!!!!….can’t believe all mud slinging ….just because baby e left all of the sudden DEI is a money hoarding org. not willing to pay 2 washed up racers …. man what a said…Ginn has indicated that he has paid the drivers through August and intends to pay the rest in accordance with their agreements. In addition, the crew chiefs had severance agreements that spell out their compensation packages. There is more than one side to every story, Mr. Meyer….and for all the DEI haters….start washing your hanky’s 2008 season will give you plenty to cry about (24& 48 still winning and baby E not getting the same equiptment) I can hear it already….go mark martin #8 ..2008

09/13/2007 08:45 AM

In my opinion the current state of disfunctiona at DEI is not what Dale Sr. envisioned. I hope Sterling and Joe get what they are entitled too. As for Jr, heart wrenching as it is he was smart to move on.

09/13/2007 09:52 AM

DEI should hope they don’t have to pay out any money to those drivers & crew chiefs because without Dale, Jr sales, they are going to need all the money they can get. Does anyone think it odd that changes Jr thought should be made are now being made at DEI? Good Luck to Martin Truex. He is the only talent DEI has. Even with all of Menard’s money, Paul can’t compete. I think it is a total shame to put 2 part-time drivers in the #8..and for Mark Martin to say the #8 is important to DEI…well, OK…whatever…I guess the importance of the #8 to an actual Earnhardt made no difference.

09/13/2007 11:17 AM

Unfortunately, anyone who follows business dealings at all can tell you that the problems of the smaller company become the problems of the larger company that merges/absorbs them. Whether or not there is any merit to the lawsuit is beside the point. DEI is now responsible for all of Ginn Racing’s deals and debts. They cannot simply point to Bobby Ginn and say “that’s his problem” as it is also theirs now.

09/13/2007 11:36 AM

Marlin and Joe were not “EX” employes till after the merger, thus they were (fired)released by TEI, it is TEI’s problem. if they had truelly been paid to august why are they suing? remember the mayfield deal? when he sued everyone seemed to think he was a fault for the perfomance,or being greedy etc. a year later we found out some of the truth(dating the boss). so let it all play out in a year or so we may find out what really went on, personally i’m guessing this gets settled out of court, and TEI pays up.

09/13/2007 12:43 PM

OMG!!!! DEI is going to collapse… AGAIN.

What is this about the 5465th time this year we have heard DEI is in dire trouble when it was not.

DEI is and will do just fine and the Jr. sycophants need to grow up and get a life.

09/14/2007 08:43 AM

This is hysterical… The entertainment value of watching Jr. Nation in a state of total melt-down over every little thing is sooooo delightful.

Regardless of what become of the driver’s contract suits – DEI will be just fine. In fact, they are on track for conquest in upcoming seasons – regardless of the anti-DEI rat poop being dribbled by some in this forum. I noticed one mutant above even wondered if DEI would need to sell-off their 7-Post shaker rig to get out of “this one”… What The??? What has that got to do with anything?? Being someone who works with that type of equipment, I just have to shake my head and laugh once again.

By the way Mr. Meyers… we don’t know the full story about the driver’s pay-off arrangements. There could easily have been severance agreements accepted by these drivers and crew chiefs at the time Bobby Ginn dismantled their teams due to loss of sponsorship, which superseded their original contract clauses – but perhaps their has been some “change of heart” after-the-fact by the parties involved, which we’re not being told.

Back to the toxic anti-DEI attitudes these days… it never ceases to amaze me how idiotic Jr. Nation can be. Just because NASCAR’s 8-year rookie; Zero-time champion; most popular SuperJerk – The Manipulator, has failed in his narcissistic coupe attempt for a company that was not his to be “taken”… Jr. Nation has their panties in a wedgie about every little subject…

They’ve been a total disgrace to the entire sport the whole year…

09/14/2007 09:50 AM

these articles are turning this website into the Onion of NASCAR (and i don’t mean Todd Bodine). get real and find something worth writing about. DEI will be fine. Junior will move on and we’ll see what happens from there. Ginn will be a “Ginn who?” in a matter of months. and, lastly, Front Row Joe will come back here to Florida and finish his career whoopin’ some local ass!


Contact Jeff Meyer

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