NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
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!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Thompson In Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Tuesday April 24, 2007
One thing the current controversy involving contract negotiations between Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt, has confirmed for me is that often times there is a lot of wisdom contained in those old adages we have heard all of our lives. In this case, there’s one in particular that comes to mind : “Family and business don't mix.”
Never has the toxin caused by the combination of the two become more poisonous than in this battle for control of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Normally, a driver's contract negotiations garner little more than passing mention; however, from the start there has been nothing normal about the way this trip to the bargaining table has been conducted. The posturing between stepmother, stepson, and stepdaughter has transcended what’s supposed to be a simple business proceeding; at this point, it’s become something far more personal. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you mix family and business, especially in this case. For everyone involved, it’s not easy to maintain the basics of dignity, class, and respect when you’ve got a stepson who’s set his sights on taking over a business however he can, wrestling away control of a company I feel he clearly has no rightful claim to.
What we’re seeing transpire right before our eyes, folks, is a business coup by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for control of his stepmother's organization. It’s a company that Teresa Earnhardt, along with the her late husband, established back in 1995 with entries in two of NASCAR’s premier divisions : Busch and Craftsman Trucks. Since the team’s debut, Teresa has worked feverishly as the head manager of the company, taking the helm and guiding the ship all the way through the program’s ascension into full-time Cup racing in 1998. Of course, that simple history lesson teaches you that the establishment of the program came some three years before Dale, Jr. began his successful stint in the No. 3 Busch Series D.E.I. entry, a ride that earned him two Busch Series Championships and catapulted him into the national limelight as a popular and talented NASCAR driver.
Once hired by both the Intimidator and Teresa to take over that ride, the business association developed between D.E.I. and Junior seems to have been, up to now, highly successful. Over the past decade, it’s earned both the driver and the company untold millions of dollars. Unfortunately, the money is not enough for Junior and his sister / business manager Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who have decided that Junior is simply better suited to manage D.E.I. than their stepmother. In ongoing negotiations, they have implied that unless Junior is given majority ownership of the race team, he will simply leave the organization when his contract expires at the end of 2007.
As an employee of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, there is certainly no argument that Junior has every right, at the end of his legally binding contract, to seek employment anywhere. This is an important distinction to understand, for Dale, Jr. is an employee of D.E.I. Currently, he is not a limited partner in the company in any way, shape, or form. Its co-founder, Teresa Earnhardt, is the sole owner of the company. That’s right…it’s her company and no one else’s. Any belief held by Junior's supporters that there was ever any implied intent on the part of his father for Junior to wrangle, at some point of his choosing, control of D.E.I. from Teresa is simply unfounded. Nowhere has there ever been any direct quote attributed to the Initimidator expressing his desire that Junior one day take control of D.E.I.
Well, Junior has determined that he should have it his way anyways, and he is making a bold move to ensure it happens. Junior fired the first shot in his attempt to wrangle the controlling interest of D.E.I. away from Teresa during media day at Daytona in February; when questioned about his ongoing contract talks, he proclaimed in no uncertain terms that “The main factor (and/or stumbling block) is the ownership part.”
Junior continued, “It has nothing to do with money and nothing else, really. I would really like my team, I like how things are going … The motors are improving, everything is on an upswing. (It’s just that) my father has been gone for almost six years now, (and) I want majority ownership.”
At that time myself, as well as others, did not fully understand the scope of Junior's somewhat ambiguous demands. I, for one, simply believed that perhaps Junior was literally speaking about control of his No. 8 Budweiser team. But as time passed and the focus became clearer, it became certain that what Junior wanted was control of the complete racing operation. Now, I believe even a demand for control of his team was incredibly presumptious on his part; a push for control of all three race teams borders on the ridiculous. His absurd initial justification for wanting majority ownership, that his father has been gone “long enough,” leaves me even more convinced that Junior, with the aid of his sister, are doing this simply because they believe they can.
Make no mistake about it; this is simply a business move made by the stepchildren in order to advance their careers. Though there may be a sincere belief on their part that what they are doing is in the best interest of their father's legacy, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who is also President of JR Motorsports, is very candid about their motivations.
“51 is the right number because that gives us control,” she said in a recent interview. “We’ll take 75 or 95 or whatever we work out … (but) 51 gives you control. The biggest reason we want ownership in the Cup program is so that we can direct it to (the level) where we feel like it needs to go.”
“It is no secret that business has not been at its maximum potential. There hasn’t been someone solid in the business putting the resources back into the race team,” Elledge continued. “We want Dale to drive 10 or 12 more years. We’ve got to get on the race track and win and get competitive and win championships. We have to have a situation that provides that for him.”
Those statements raise obvious questions, such asâ€¦ what makes Dale, Jr. or Kelley believe they are more capable of running D.E.I. than Teresa? And why do their "wants" give them a right to take control of a company that isn't theirs? Are they basing their confidence to run D.E.I. on the business acumen they have demonstrated at JR Motorsports? That’s a Busch Series team wholly owned by Junior that, to date, he has certainly shown no hesitation to invest money in; as a result, the team has yet to realize any significant on-track success, with a handful of different drivers taking the helm over a two-year period.
I can answer this much for you; what the stepchildren are doing is nothing short of attempting to "strong-arm" their stepmother into relinquishing control of the company. They have taken a very calculated gamble that may or may not prove to be successful, but no one can doubt that they bring considerable, and possibly overpowering, muscle to the negotiating table. That muscle is the millions of dollars in sponsorship revenues that Junior provides D.E.I. through his tremendous commercial appeal as the most popular racecar driver in America. Because of that, they do not have to mince words as to what the impact would be if Junior were to leave D.E.I. There is no doubt that Teresa Earnhardt is fully aware of the company's financial reports and just how great the future health of the company depends on Junior's ability to generate sponsorship dollars.
However, might does not make right, no matter how many times the ambitious second born son of the late seven-time NASCAR champion proclaims that his intentions in this matter are entirely honorable. Even if Junior’s claims that he is not motivated by money, but by some deep-rooted desire to take D.E.I. to a higher level of competitiveness, are legitimate, the fact remains that D.E.I. is not his company. Any attempt to take control of it without Teresa's blessing is an act of absolute arrogance on the part of her stepson.
Ironically, the two Earnhardt children seem to have a tremendous amount of support from fans and racing peers in the NASCAR community that would truly like to see Junior head the company named after his legendary father. It appears to me that desire, as well as the selfish wishes of Junior and Kelley, has blinded them to the point where they either do not care or have not fully considered the right and wrong of the issue.
Regardless of which side ultimately prevails and has majority control of D.E.I. at the conclusion of all this mess, one thing is clear : things will never be the same for the Earnhardt family. Whatever happens, there will be a resentment that will linger long after the ownership question is resolved. And that is perhaps the lesson that will have been learned from all of thisâ€¦family is, and should always be, more important than business.
Right now, for the Earnhardts, it’s not.
©2000 - 2008 Tommy Thompson and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Given that Junior and Kelly say it was Senior’s intent that his children should own the company some day, your opinion as an outsider appears uninformed.
The fact that you think this somehow changes the family—remember, Teresa was the one who refused to allow Junior’s mother to fly on a DEI airplane to care for her son after her was burned in a race—suggests you know less about the family’s dynamics than you actually do. Resentment? When Richard Childress has to step in to transport DEI’s star and his mother, I’d say the resentment’s been there for a long time.
If Jr. wants to buy and Theresa wants to sell I’m all for it. That would be a perfectly appropriate business deal — maybe not the wisest possible move given the recent record on owner-drivers — but nothing out of line.
As for giving Jr. the company …
Even if you discount the fact that Big E did have a will and thus had the oppertunity to make his wishes clear — leaving DEI to Theresa — and believe that there is some moral obligation to give DEI to the kids the fact is that Big E had 5 heirs (because, despite popular belief, widows have rights too), not just one.
So its out of line for Jr. and/or Kelly to request to be given more than 20% each — unless they are willing to compensate Kerry, Taylor, and Theresa for the fair value of the extra shares.
Even if we were still back in Biblical times where only sons inherited it was the oldest son, not the younger son, who got the double portion.
First of all, it would be nice if you got your facts straight when you wrote this column. Since you couldn’t do that, I am not surprised that you seem to know little of the Earnhardt history. Add to that, you seem not to know much about DEI and the lack of leadership for the past few years. With your lack of knowledge about the subject you chose to write about, I’m not too terribly surprised it turned out the way it did.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.
1st of all the #8 Bud team did not exist until JR moved up to cup. His Busch Championships were all won in the BLUE AC Delco DEI Busch Car, not the RED #8 DEI Busch Bud Car. From the moment you blew that statement I read your article with no faith in any of the facts that you seem to have just pulled outta the air for this article. Please remember that Dale Earnhardt started DEI as a cover company for all his business interests before he married Theresa, not after. He acknowledged many times however that Theresa was the better manager for the business than he ever was, because she had time to devote to it. I guess bottom line is do a little better research before you write your articles.
Don’t let the Junior Nationers get to you. Your article is right on. Dale Sr left his company to Teresa and she has been right there running it since the beginning. I understand the financial impact it will have on DEI, but I hope she tells him to walk.
Boy are you out in left field! This is NOT about money; this is about the Earnhardt children’s legacy. And Theresa did NOT building DEI single-handely! Dale Sr. was there with her building this company, and without HIM, she would not be where she is today! How obvious that she has bitten off more than she can chew as evidenced by the numerous reassignments, only to see it result in even worse problems, to finally hiring people for major positions within DEI with decision-making powers. I used to think a lot of Theresa; I’m really disappointed in her. I thought she would do a better job, but the deal with Jr.‘s mother not being able to fly on a DEI plane in an emergency was just plain cold.
Thank you for a good catch, James!
You say “Make no mistake about it; this is simply a business move made by the stepchildren in order to advance their careers”
Scuse me. Name me one driver out there who doesn’t sign his contract for the best ride he can in order to advance his career? I wish Jr WOULD leave and find a ride (a TOP one which right now DEI isn’t) and just concentrate on driving and winning like all the other drivers out there. But, if he’s forced to “carry on the legacy”, he should at least have some say in how they go about running the team. How many wins does DEI have over the last 7 years? They aren’t exactly dominating like Hendricks. Jr has brought in the majority of any profits over those years so it is beyond me why he should have to pay for it, either.
Jr should have never been put in the position of having to even ask for an ownership percentage of the company he not only helped build, but that also that his father would have wanted him to represent. Was Theresa ever going to offer Jr any percentage at all or was she just going to keep using Jr to bring in the sponsor dollars that keep DEI afloat and money pouring into her pocket. Since Srs death Theresa has seemed much more interested in making money off of anything she can get a 3 attached to than seeing to it that DEI is winning races. Everyone knows that Jr doesn’t have the equipment that the Hendrick, Gibbs and Childress drivers do and Theresa has to take most of the blame for that. Jr has every right to want ownership in a company that bears his family name and one that would be up a creek without him. It’s obvious Jr wants to win races and he’ll do anything he can to see that happen. I think the greatest thing Jr could do to honor his late father is see to it that DEI wins races, not plastering 3s on everything that can make Theresa a dime.
I’m sure you are saying what alot of people afraid of the lash back from the Jr nation think. after all it is made clear daily that when jr speaks his fans do as he says.
OK, I may be way out in left field but here goes. Has anyone ever considered the possibilty of Teresa remarrying? She’s still young, very attractive, rich and powerful women. Then what? Maybe JR’s concern is more about who else may be in the picture down the road. If he gets 51% now at least he can control the Earnhardt “racing” legacy. Just a thought.
Thank you Mr. Thompson, you are a breath of fresh air. Finally a motorsports writer with the courage (and smarts) to take a stand against Junior Nation on his and Kelly’s shameful actions. The way the Earnhardt fans are supporting these two is positively frightening. I do believe they’d all go jump off a bridge if Junior told them to.
Jimmy Spencer was right, if Senior was alive he’d take the both of them out to the woodshed and tan their hides. Not only are they disrespecting their step-mom but their father as well.These “fans” are no fans of the late Dale Earnhardt, who often cites Teresa as the force behind both his racing and business success. She straightened him out and brought stability and focus into his life. I can promise these “fans” that they would not want to face the wrath of Dale Senior in supporting Junior in this ridiculous display of greed and lack of decency.
DEI is Teresa’s company now and Junior and Kelly need to live with it or better yet, let them walk, Teresa! Neither one of them can be trusted.
You are off base and have totally misrepresented the efforts of Junior and his request for 51% of the company, he has driven his heart out. Week after week he gets into mediocre cars and tries to compete with much better organizations than DEI. For you to say that this is a selfish act on Junior and Kelly’s part, makes me wonder how you call yourself a “Writer” What a joke .Junior wants to compete on equal footing. He wants to make sure he has equipment and other resources to win. The day DEI had to borrow equipment from JRM, were you out to lunch? If this had happened to the 48 , 24. or 20 cars, the media would be crucifying their respective orhganizations. You owe Junior and Kelly an apology. Are you possibly related to Jimmy Spencer?
I do not think Teressa is dumb enough to let Jr. walk. But maybe that would be best. He would be able to get good equipment and progress with another company and by the time the next contract is up he could buy DEI for a lot less! Teressa knows business but is not a Race Team Director. Also if I remember correctly Jr. has mentioned Kerry as well as his step sister as being part of the DEI family in the future.
IIRC didn’t Kelly state about two weeks ago that any change in ownership would also affect her share and Kerry’s share? That led me to believe that Theresa did not own 100% of DEI. Anyone know?
“Teresa was the one who refused to allow Juniorâ€™s mother to fly on a DEI airplane to care for her son after her was burned in a race”
Even JUNIOR said that wasn’t true.
Why does Jr get 51%? He’s already a millionaire. What about Kerry, Kelly, and Taylor? Do they get to divvy up the remaining 49% between them?
Hmmm… each get 16% and Jr gets 51%.
Thanks for the clarification. I, too, was on Jr’s side NOT REALIZING he wasn’t a part owner already. Knowing the facts of this matter has changed my perspective. Jr and Kelley have NO RIGHT’s to DEI. ROCK ON Theresa!
I wish that Teresa would give Junior his walking papers! He is acting like a big spoiled brat wnating to have all of the power and not sharing it with anyone else in the family.
Teresa is the one that, next to Dale Sr., was most responsible for getting DEI where it is today. Contrary to what the Jr. fans think, DEI was around long before Jr. started racing for them.
The Jr. fans need to quit drinking the kool-aid and see what is really going on here. They are all blind to the facts and only want to believe that what Jr. does is the best.
Dale Sr. would be all over Jr. for the way that he is acting. Jr. likes to blame Teresa for all of his problems racing. Actually, one of his big problems is his concern with being a big star. He seems more concerned in some cases in appearing in music videos, commercials and everything else. Sr. would not have done any of these things if he felt that it would have affected his racing. He cared more about racing than being a celebrity.
Way off base here. You are taking the popular anti-Junior slant, which is fine, but please do try to understand what it is you’re talking about. Junior and Kelley want control so he can make race/competition decisions that Teresa can’t seem to make. She’s done nothing but move existing workers around, and hired only corporate execs of late when the entire team’s lackluster performance tells anyone with a pulse that competition oriented hires/moves/decisions are what is needed. Junior is already rich beyond belief, the money isn’t the motive. His want to win a Cup is what is driving this, nothing more or less. I think, that he correctly thinks that someone has to take the reigns of the competition part of DEI or their stature in the sport will continue to spiral down.
Well, you have fullfilled this week’s obligation, which was to write an article that would get people riled up so they’ll read the next one. It’s unfortunate that you chose a subject about which you know so little, because it makes your point a lot less supportable.
But taking the “devil’s advocate” point of view will definitely get people reading, even when it’s factually inaccurate.
First of all as stated in some of your responses DEI was going strong before Teresa. Having said that how can she lay claim to the Earnhardt family business. She was not an Earnhardt at the begining of DEI. I believe she married the name. That does not give her the right to be the strong arm of the company. In almost every other venue the family aires take over in the event of the loss of the head of the family. Why should this be any different. In an article posted on the net a few monthes ago, Dale Jr. had to go to court to gain rights to his name. RED FLAG HERE!!!!!!!!!! It just seems a shame that there is any question as to who is in it for the money. NO ONE knows what Jr’s intentions are for the company, but I think he should have a chance to show what he can do. Teresa hasn’t done that well. Maybe it is time for a change in leadership.
This is an interesting debate. My 2 cents: If Senior were alive, this would not be an issue. Junior did not even have a contract with his father when he first drove for him. It was after his death and he got into a battle over his own name with Teresa, that he decided he needed some protection. Finally, Teresa said recently that she could not understand why race teams put such an emphasis on racing and winning! Duh! That’s what race teams DO! DEI has lagged badly and now we know why…there’s no emphasis on winning from the owner. Junior needs control of the race side of the company. Let her keep the Senior Legacy stuff. Let’s get realistic about this. All you people who say let Junior walk are driving a nail into the DEI coffin. Wise up!
Once again the Earnhardt Nation’s parade of illogical fans shows how they let their emotions blind any sense or business they may have.
Just so you know. Actually so you remember, You already know this. It’s just that this time, your letting your blind loyalty to a driver override your common sense. If a husband and wife own a company and the husband dies without stating otherwise in a will, no matter what his plans were, the wife owns the company.
If an employee of a company doesn’t like the way his career is being structured, he has every right to negotiate with his employer. The employer then has every right to allow or deny those negotiation points.
Teresa owns the company. Junior can negotiate with his employer for anything he wants to include in his contract. She can give him all, some or none of what he wants and his choice it to either take it, or not. It all depends on how much the business relationship is worth to the parties involved.
Blind Earnhardt fan. Put yourself in Teresa’s shoes. Would YOU give away a business that you’ve worked for years to build to a guy who hasn’t proven that he can run it any better?
Yeah, sure you would.
I’m not saying that it’s all the Earnhardt fans, just the 90% that give the 10% a bad name.
Tommy, bless your heart, I’ve got to give you an “A” for effort. First, I must say I agree 100% with SimRacer. Junior’s desire to be competitive is the primary motivation for his demand for “control” of DEI. Teresa has neither the interest nor ability to provide the desperately needed leadership required on the motorsports side of the business. Furthermore, I must correct you in one of your many factual errors. You state that “ Nowhere has there been any direct quote attributed to the Intimidator expressing his desire that Junior one day take control of DEI”. Please see the December, 1999, commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated. An article by Lars Anderson quoted Earnhardt, Sr. as follows: “In the grand scheme of things I’d like Junior to take over DEI and run the entire operation…I’d like my other kids to also be involved if they want, but really Dale Jr. has shown the most interest.” What say you, Mr. Thompson?
His widow, Teresa Earnhardt (whom he married in 1982) is the owner of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the race team and merchandising corporation Earnhardt founded with her in Feburary of 1980.
The started it together BEFORE he was much of a name. He was still riding on his rookie of the year fame.
I am as much of a Jr. Fan as any other Jr. fan. It’s sad to think that he has to go through this and all of us are up in his bussiness about what he should do, or not do. what happens with DEI and Jr.‘s future with or without the DEI name on his uniform is bottom line, between him and his family. Would I be sad to see Jr. leave DEI? Of course I would, but let’s face is, if Jr. walks so does Budwiser and all DEI would be left with is an unsponsered car with a #8 on it.
Just my two pennies
I’m not sure if you are a businessman or not but I would not want you as my partner. Right or wrong is not important. Value is. Without Jr. DEI is a broken hasbeen with Jr. it is worth 200 million or more. Also Darrel Watrip and Sr. became very close late in Sr’s life he stated last week in an article that Dale told him personally that he wanted Jr. to take over the co.
Let’s get something straight right now Dale Sr made it very clear that DEI would sooner or later be turned over to the children. This is the way Dale wanted it and that is the it should be. This was said by Dale in an interview not too long after the formation of DEI. Theresa needs to take this situation on herself instead of fluffing it off to someone else. If Thersa is so good at what she has done why is she so willing to let one of the most marketable drivers on the circuit to go elsewhere. This does not sound like a very intelligent busines decision. With that in mind it’s about time for Theresa to abide by Dale Sr’s original wish and give up majority control if for anyone her late husband.
Theresa aint blood.
Plain and simple,let Jr.take control of DEI for say 5 years and see where it goes and how many races and championships he can bring in under his control.If he does what he thinks he can then she might give up and take a back seat to DEI.I say he needs a chance to prove he can do it.Back when I was growing up if you took over a family buss.it wasn’t because you earned it by name.It was because you proved yourself to your family and sibblings that you could direct the co.to where it should be.Im a Jr.fan but!Money is money.Im all for giving him a shot.But boy he better prove himself.At the end of the 5yrs.and if Jr.did work it out and start winning then she could keep 49%for her pocket change or to go out on weekends and let the kids keep up their fathers dream.Then everybody would win in the long run.Do you think the owner of BUD.got it by just being in line.Im sure he had to prove himself also.Remember the saying if you earned it,it will mean a lot more.If he did take control for 5yrs.and really did good in managing and driving he would have proved to his family and better yet to himself that he earned hearted it.Just like daddy.
If it came down to losing my top driver AND the millions of dollars he brings into the company, YES I would consider giving the business away. It would be a shame for Teresa to have to use some of her money to keep DEI in business. If she is as smart as some people think she is that is a no brainer. Reguadless of what some people think, Dale Jr. is DEI. It may be all Teresa has, but it sure is enough to pay the bills. Maybe if Jr leaves she can change the name to TEI and that will solve everything. I think Jr should leave. It would be very interesting to see how long she could make it.
Theresa has just added a Entertainment Div. to DEI. How STUPID is that??? The money needs to go on bettering the 3 cars they have!!! This is the mind set of a Nascar team owner?? Run Jr run. Theresa doesn’t give a rats ___ about bettering the team. I would not even want to be partners with a flake like that. And as someone mentioned what if she remarries what would happen if there was a divorce.
it’s amazing how the jr. fans are so stupid, they claim that the reason jr. wants control of dei is make it a better race team! WAKE UP PEOPLE jr. is not god, is just a good looking clean cut kid riding the coat tail of daddy, do you actually believe jr. has the smarts and ambition to run dei, if he get’s this so call 51% it will be the other woman is caniving sister running the company, if some of you did some reading and research you would see who actually tells jr. what to do and not to do, since he was a little kid, i actually believe kelly even tells him what outfit he wears everyday.
Leo, Leo, Leo. You must be a Kurt Bush fan. If you really want to talk stupidity, just reread your response. First of all Jr. has made his OWN way in racing. Unless of course you feel that his daddy has fixed the races he has won. Secondly I dought that you know as much about his sister as you think you do. And last but not least you stated that Jr. needs to prove himself first. That might be rather difficult without the opportunity to do so. Some people in a fit of jealousy can’t help but speak from thier “*$. I think YOU may still be sleeping. Sooooo, “WAKE UP YOURSELF.” I think some people are just scared that Jr. migth be able to turn DEI into a super power.
Dale Jr made his own way in racing?
Think about what you just said Joey. He’s freaking Dale Earnhardt JUNIOR. He is an employee of Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Yeah, self made man there. lol That’s a hoot.
Blind Earnhardt fans, gotta love ‘em.
Raul, Iam very interested to know why you can’t seem to get passed this JUNIOR thing you have going here. I respect your opinion, and you are certinly entitled to it. But unless you are willing to say that people with JUNIOR after thier first name aren’t capable of making it without riding someones coat tail, then Cal Ripkin JUNIOR, Al Uncer JUNIOR, Bobby Hamilton JUNIOR ect. ect., all made it because of thier fathers talent. I mean that would be fair to say don’t you think. It isn’t hard to tell that you are NOT a Dale Jr. fan, and that is fine. That’s why it is so great to have 43 drivers. In my opinion, of which I too am entitled, I don’t see how you can say that he is where he is today because he is freaking Dale Earnhardt JUNIOR. His coat tail ride has been gone for 6 years now. GOD Bless SR. I don’t mean to make you mad by any means, but I think this JUNIOR thing is just a Dale JNUIOR thing. Just having fun. Have a great day.
I agree with many individuals on this matter that you are one of the few to speak out without fear of Junior Nation. Jr reminds me of a young Jeff Gordon. Granted I’m a Gordon fan and I respect everything he and SENIOR helped do for this sport. But anytime that Jr has a bad race or something goes wrong he blames his team… and doesn’t take the blame. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched a race and have had to see his car all the time, here Darrell talk about Jr constantly. And the lack of respect that Jr fans have, throwing beer cans at racers (particularly Gordon) shows how classless Jr fans really are. If Jr wants control of DEI he needs to grow up first. And don’t give me his cars aren’t as good as others, I remember when Jr could single handedly beat everyone at restrictor plate races, but what happened you ask. The other companies figured them out too. What happened when he fired Eury Jr? He went to Michael Waltrips team and Waltrip loved him, no problems. Jr hires Eury back and problems begin again. Again, if Jr really wants control of this company he better grow up and start winning some races too… and how about a Championship as well.
Kyle, You make some interesting points. I have to agree with you about Jeff and Dale Sr.‘s contributions to the sport of racing. I too like Jeff Gordon but I am a Jr. fan at heart. If the truth be known there are 40 drivers that I like, leaving 2 Bushes and an Edwards that I don’t care for. However I feel that Jr. does take blame for alot of his actions. I have heard praise his team, crew chief, and engine department after many races. Maybe not as much or as often as he should, but come on, you and I have heard other drivers blame some one else for thier mistakes. It’s not just Jr. and you know that. The one thing I have to disagree with you on is your statement about Jr. fans throwing things on the track. Can you honestly say that it is only Dale Jr. fans that are doing that. Is it possible that there may be some people that don’t like Jeff Gordon. Could there be some Tony Stewart, or Mark Martin or Elliot Sadler, or any other drivers fans doing the throwing. If people do not like Jr. they are entitled to thier opinion. That is what makes the country so great. But really, to sit back and say those damn Jr. fan keep throwing stuff on the track if he doesn’t win is stretching it don’t you think. If we had the opprotunity to ask every one that threw something on the track last Sunday I’m sure that there would be some Jr. fans involved. But is it possible that there would be some that weren’t. Could there have been some fans of other drivers that might have joined in, and is it possible that it could have been some people who just don’t like Jeff Gordon. Some folks have a problem with greatness which is where I feel Jeff Gordon is at. I just don’t think it is right to say that only Jr. fans are that classless as you stated. There are some things that are a given, what happens at DEI will happen. Jeff Gordon will keep setting new records, and people who don’t like Jr. will continue to voice thier opinion as such. And Nascar will go on. Thank God for that
Rusty, I agree with what you say. And I know it wasn’t only Jr fans, and my apology for not putting that in there. And I also know everybody complains, again not a strong point to argue. I just think that Jr fans and other race fans (those that throw) tarnish the sport and the Jr fans tarnish the Earnhardt name. I just hope NASCAR can fix the current problem of fans throwing items.