Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thompson In Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Tuesday July 31, 2007
"DEI without Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is just a museum."
Remember how so many, like Stewart, underestimated Miss Teresa's business acumen just a few short months ago – believing DEI would wither up and die without the presence of their superstar? In fact, this journalist vividly recalls widespread disagreement stemming from several fans about my position that the much maligned stepmother should hold to her stance and not give in to Junior's strongarm tactics to take over the company, jumpstarting a whirlwind of differing opinions in a piece I authored in April titled, For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Might Doesn't Make Him Right. Likewise, I remember the lukewarm response that I received in my later defense of Teresa's on-the-job performance as a major NASCAR team owner in a commentary last month, Junior Sets The Record Straightâ€¦Meaning Vindication For Teresa. No doubt, this commentary will receive equal condemnation from those that truly want to portray Teresa Earnhardt as a kind of "wicked stepmother" character that has, through her penny-pinching and inept business practices, prevented her stepson from attaining what some believe is his preordained destiny…NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion. However, as the past weeks and months have unfolded, the truth continues to shine through above the chatter. The facts speak for themselves; no matter what you think of her business practices, Teresa Earnhardt is one smart cookie!
The acquisition of Ginn Racing last week – resulting in a multi-million dollar expansion for DEI – has Teresa still at the helm and writing the checks, in the process elevating her already solid Top 10 organization to a whole other level. Simply put, the move solidifies the company for the future and beats other respected team owners to the punch in becoming a four-team operation. That is no insignificant accomplishment – one the likes of Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress, among other illustrious team owners, know is necessary for their future survival. Just the third team to officially field four or more cars, only the Hendrick and Roush stables can claim the type of expanded fleet that now lives at DEI.
But the Teresa Earnhardt critics don’t see it that way. Even those that begrudgingly acknowledge the widow of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt has made some positive moves of late often attempt to credit Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s defection from the family business as the reason for both the recent success of the race teams as well as their latest business coups. To do so, those detractors have to play fast and loose with the timeline of events that has propelled DEI to the enviable position it is now enjoying. Regardless of how many times Junior repeats his assessment of DEI, "I was surprised at how on par in some places DEI really is," or "I never really felt like me and crew chief Tony (Eury), Jr. had any trouble being competitive at DEI," – Teresa-bashing loyalists refuse to be deterred.
While the Ginn coup was swift and sudden, the acquisition itself did not signal some post-Junior realization by the organization that they needed to look at expanding. The truth is, DEI had been in acquisition negotiations with this same organization last year – well before Little E's announced decision that he was moving to Hendrick Motorsports. Though negotiations with then-owner Nelson Bowers and minority owner and manager Jay Frye did not result in a deal that made business sense to DEI, resulting in Bobby "money bags" Ginn purchasing MB2, the effort on Teresa Earnhardt's part to expand her company cannot be ignored.
Is it just dumb luck on Teresa Earnhardt's part that she has now ended up with a race team that she could not swing a deal on just a little more than a year ago? Nopeâ€¦just smart business. Though MB2 saw the writing on the wall and knew that it was important for them to align the company with another for future survival, they were still in a position to bargain for top dollarâ€¦one year later, Bobby Ginn was not. He was on the verge of going “belly up” and was able to be bought out at a “fire sale” price by an organization in DEI that could easily afford to cover his losses. As an added bonus, Ginn’s spending spree on the deal made the assets purchased much improved; there were so many other enhancements that he had unwisely invested in to improve the teams during his one-year tenure as a mover and shaker among Nextel Cup team owners that it was a no-brainer to merge as those were included in the deal. (see last week’s column for more info).
Being able to recognize what is and is not a bargain is the sign of a good business manager. Though waiting to expand DEI may have seemed to some as a sign of non-commitment by Teresa as to the future of her racing division, it is now evident that it was a prudent decision on her part. But, good deal or not, the money still has to be available to capitalize on an opportunity when it presents itself – and Teresa was able to deliver the cash when needed because she has, year-in and year-out, operated her company both responsibly and profitably. In fact, Forbes magazine recently ranked DEI sixth in profit among all NASCAR organizations for 2007, a jump of two positions from their spot in 2006. The $16.6 million in estimated profit she accumulated puts her in a rather exclusive group of owners, numbering just ten, that realize any significant monetary returns from team ownership.
Convinced yet? Not everyone will be…there are always "yeah, butsâ€¦" from those that refuse to acknowledge that because Teresa Earnhardt chooses not to conduct her business through media blurbs, that indicates that she has not been active in addressing DEI's business needs. Her critics also like to point out that she has been too "tight-fisted" with the company checkbook to expand shop space, something her media darling stepson has pointed out is busting at the seams. But the fact is, DEI has been shopping for additional shop space, and just last year, they were in serious discussions with Robert Yates Racing to purchase their shop when the business outlook for RYR looked bleak. However, at the time, negotiations were in play between Yates and Red Bull (a Toyota team) for Yates' No. 88, and DEI technical director Steve Hmiel made their interests crystal clear: "We don't care anything about the number. We won't buy just for the number. We never even considered buying just the number. The focus is on the facility." Because of that, the deal fell through.
The list of unsupported indictments against Teresa Earnhardt goes on. Even great moments get shrouded in a sea of questioning; Martin Truex, Jr.‘s win at Dover last month is led to insinuations that Teresa was finally listening to her disgruntled stepson even though it was too late, resulting in retracting complaints that she was not doing enough to make the race teams competitive. I suppose those mouthing such nonsense believe that the inadequate attention to the race teams, including the three-year development of DEI's Car of Tomorrow program, was miraculously addressed and turned around in mere weeksâ€¦and then, only after Junior's announcement prompted action. In reality, such a situation would be bordering on the impossible…but people still believe.
Then, of course, there was the celebrated merger of the engine programs at DEI and RCR which was announced in May of this year. Ah, ha! Seeâ€¦that would have never happened if Junior had not left, say those faithful to the premise that Junior, though leaving, is responsible for what few deny was a smart business move by both team owners. Said Junior: “I think that’s a great move. I was telling Richie (Richie Gilmore: DEI Director of Competition) this time a year ago that all the Chevy teams ought to consolidate to one engine program. Depending on the teams you brought in, it would cut the cost tremendously. I think it’s an awesome idea because the sport’s getting so damn costly now. As far as performance-wise, both (programs) got a little to offer each other.”
But again, the timeline would suggest that Teresa was hot on the engine merger well before the February pronouncement by Junior that he wanted controlling interest of the race teams. Said DEI General Manager, John Story, “Richard and Teresa (Earnhardt) have been working on this project for the last six months."
Such proclamations don’t matter, though, to those dead set on condemning Teresa Earnhardt's management of the company she has run on a day-to-day basis since its inception. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has not won a championship in the equipment she has providedâ€¦and that is all they need to know.
The predicted demise of DEI and Teresa Earnhardt as a team owner after the departure of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are simply wrong. With Teresa Earnhardt quietly making wise business decisions, it is now becoming apparent to all that the company has never been better positioned – and that racing at DEI will go on long after the departure of its immensely popular driver next season.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
The reason Dale Jr left DEI was none of the above. His father had made him a promise and
I have to totally disagree with you again. It has become obvious that the problem with Jr. and his step-mother is personal….so if she is such a great business person, she should have found a way to smooth over personal issues and kept the driver who can best guarantee sponsors.
I agree with you completely. She is very intelligent and held her own despite so much vile against her. This is Earnhardt’s widow we’re talking about. He loved her, we loved him and he left the company to her and not the spoiled brat twosome who tried the overthrow. Jr still struggles as Truex flourishes. Teresa won and DEI is better off now
“SPOT ON” I say!
I think Teresa never got into the media “thing” about what was going on with Jr. (as you stated), and with the Jr. fans following Jr. blindly, the masses were stacked against her!
She kept her quiet and subtlety went about her business, and she is SMART!
I also firmly believe that Jr. was led down the primrose path by his Sis! If Sis was not around, things would have turned out different!
Jr. had no interest in helping the DEI organization, he just wanted to free wheel thru life with no responsibilities. That I believe is why Teresa would not cave in to selling DEI, or part thereof, to Jr.!
I’ve said it many times before. Teresa Earnhart was and is the business brains behind DEI. Dale Sr. would have had little without her. She comes from a racing family and knows the business. DEI will go on without Jr. and it will be successful.
Kay…just what was that PROMISE??????…..I do not think that he was to be given the company!!! oh no…SR wanted a family business little e got caught up in the most popular race driver thing (not most talented)and thought his family was the RED NATION !!! not the people at dei who got him started…His dad is the whole reason this kid has the following that he does..think about it, put his driving record (wins, points) since in nextel cup on any other of the drivers and you’ll see that he’s not god’s gift to nascar thats just waiting to take over nascar when he has a multimillon dollar backing like HMS, he may run a little better but,thats because 24&48 will mentor him!!!!
I remember Sr. saying that he wanted the team to be a legacy to all of his children.
I also remember him saying that without Teresa’s business acumen, they would still be living in a trailer.
There are two things to consider.
As in other fields the cult of celebrity that flock to top rankers like Jr tend to convince them that they are really smarter, and better than others,who are holding them back.
And Jr and Sis forgot they had siblings.
Right on Tom!!!!!!
Isn’t it a wee bit early to decide if DEI has thrived, withered and died, or even remained about the same since Jr. is still with the team?
While it appears that Teresa Earnhardt has made good moves with the race team, I wouldn’t call the moves fully successful YET. Personally, I will reserve judgment on that until we see the team’s performance during the next season or two.
It is my impression that Jr. was dissatisfied with the way the company was just making ends meet as far as racing and not trying to get better. That frustrated him and he felt that if he was in charge and could spend the money they could be more than just average… Now that he has decided to leave Teressa is spending money to show Jr. that he was wrong. If she had intentions of making these moves all along, maybe she was just waiting until she could force Jr. out as she perceived him as a threat. If you read the one article today where Tony Sr. just visited Hendrick’s shop after the merger between JRM and Hendrick Busch teams. Tony is quoted as saying “ he called Tony jr. and told him that they should feel great any time they even come close to and Hendricks car just because of the shop and all of the assets that they have available to them.” That put in perspective that DEI was on the low end of the scale as far as being on the same par as the other elite teams. Teressa got what she wanted.
Very well said.
Its really appalling the way people who claim to be Big E’s fans treat the woman he loved.
The Jr walks on water and Teresa is the scum on the bottom of the pond mentality is really silly.
while it may be true Teresa is a smart business woman she us also an extremely vindictive one—- Jr and Sis did NOT want DEI just for themselves but for ALL siblings—-as soon as Jr. left the money started to pour into the racing side of the teams— stop and think about how quickly Truex started to turn around— all the things Jr. was asking for from the racing side of the shop have now come true with the acquisition of Ginn racing— mainly the 7 post- now Teresa is out to prove to Jr. on a very personal level she can do without him—she resented from day 1 having to be “MAMA” to those kids and now they are truly out of her hair—
Thanks for an intelligent article free from the usual “Junior walks on water” bias! You are clearly an independent thinker and not just another Junior lemming.
Teresa was Dale’s soul-mate and the one he trusted above everyone else — yes people — including Junior — to make the right decisions in his behalf.
Teresa was the hidden force behind his success in life and continues to be even after his death. This woman is one smart lady and a class act besides.
Junior and his sister Kelley are a couple of vindictive spoiled brats and their father would be (is) greatly disappointed with their ingratitude and disrespect toward his wife.
As for the so-called Dale Earnhardt fans who are trashing his wife — believe me, THE MAN would put you in your place real quick.
NANCY….The list of unsupported indictments against Teresa Earnhardt goes on. Even great moments get shrouded in a sea of questioning; Martin Truex, Jr.â€˜s win at Dover last month is led to insinuations that Teresa was finally listening to her disgruntled stepson even though it was too late, resulting in retracting complaints that she was not doing enough to make the race teams competitive. I suppose those mouthing such nonsense believe that the inadequate attention to the race teams, including the three-year development of DEIâ€™s Car of Tomorrow program, was miraculously addressed and turned around in mere weeksâ€¦and then, only after Juniorâ€™s announcement prompted action. In reality, such a situation would be bordering on the impossibleâ€¦but people still believe…..NOW do you really think Teresa would hold back money from developing a Great race team soley because she wanted to deprive her brat of a son-inlaw …Please …she’s much smarter than that!!!!!!
If you truly believe the drivel you’ve written, you’re one twisted and uninformed individual.
I would just like to say that Dale Sr. was the MAN! I began to follow Jr’s career during the Busch Series and since the passing of Dale Sr., he has become The Man. I’m not trying to compare the two of them, just stating how I feel. When Jr. announced his departure from DEI, I was shocked, but accepted it. I was sorry that he and Teresa could not come to terms. I don’t believe ANY of us know the details of their personal relationship and to speculate just doesn’t FLY with me. I am not a Teresa “basher” and will continue to support DEI. BUT!! I will be Jr’s fan true and blue or red or green or whatever til the end of time. What irritates me is the responses you are getting here from Jr bashers. To call him spoiled and thankless, etc…I’d really like to know just how many of these authors know Jr. personally and just what strings THEY pulled to get the “inside scoop” on the personal and business relationship between Jr. and Teresa. If they were smart, they’d realize that the real culprit is yes, THE MEDIA. The MEDIA controls our minds. It reports matters in a way that causes us to try to read between the lines and these lines are NEVER clear. Remember the old saying “take it with a grain of salt.”?
Tommy, great article and I totally agree. I believe that everyone will be better off, once Jr. goes to HMS (Jr., DEI and TE). I like Jr., but I could never understand why he thought that he should just be given 51% of DEI.
Excellent and well written article! I totally agree with your views on Teresa Earnhardt. My main questions about DEI in the future will be about their overall driver quality next year and beyond. The fact is that after Junior departs the only elite driver left on the team with be part-timer Mark Martin and a handfull of unproven drivers. First DEI needs to be very aggressive in running driver development by actually fielding Busch and Truck series rides. If you checked recently they haven’t had many entries in nascars 2nd and 3rd tiers. Second they need to be able to attract and hold top drivers and crew members when they are available. Only with experienced top talent will DEI be able to perform at a championship level. It is also worth noting that I’ve seen a lot more of the black number 3 apparel being worn lately by the fans and a whole lot less of the Red number 8 stuff on race weekends. A lot of Junior’s fans have already jumped ship and are back to supporting a legend of the past on raceday. It sort of reminds me of the occasional fan you saw ten years ago wearing Richard Petty stuff, just on a much larger scale.
Letting Junior go will go down in history as the dumbest move ever made by any owner in any sport. A hundred million dollars a year in just souveniers. God. And where do people come from thinking the deal with Ginn makes DEI a powerhouse? What did they get? They got Mark Martin who will be gone in a year or two. Menard managed to go from 38th to 30th with not a shred or talent or even luck. They got a new building and a 7 post shaker rig. Other than that, they just got a bunch of used cars. And I bet they didn’t have the cash on hand so they probably even got a new mortgage. don’t say this deal made DEI a powerhouse until they win more than 1 or 2 races a year.
i do not agree with you at all. could someone explain why martin truex’s car is running better and jr’s is still the same as it was. i personally think teresa is not putting money into jr’s car, whick i think is crap!!! all jr fans are not jumping ship as they say, they’re still some who will stand by him no matter what!!!!
Where was Junior and Kelley’s biological mother that Teresa even had to be their “mama”. Oh thats right she washed her hands of them and moved to start a life of her own. Everyone says that Teresa is so mean to Junior and she never wanted a relationship, well this article seems to suggest it was the other way around so the fact that Junior and Teresa didnt/dont talk is ALL ON HIM
“I think it took her a while to see that was my stance,” he says. “I really don’t go out of my way to spend a whole lot of time with her, and I rarely see her, so I think it took a while to understand, that’s how he’s gonna play it.”
As far as her calling him out…so what, she is his boss and she can call him out. Joe Gibbs has told Yeley that it is his ride to lose, where is the outrage and the riots over that!?! People say its because Teresa is “family”, um Junior didnt want to be her family so why should she treat him as such.
As far as him not personally slamming Teresa in the press, well he doesnt really need to does he? He has all his pathetic minions to do that.