Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dale Earnhardt JR Leaving DEI - Becoming Free Agent

Dale Earnhardt JR held a press conference at his JR Motorsports race shop in Mooresville N.C. today announcing that he has decided to leave DEI at the end of 2007 and announced that he is a free agent.

Junior had said that he wanted a contract by May and that has not happened. And an added bonus for JR is that Budweiser’s contract ends with DEI at the same time JR’s contract ends. I can only imagine that Budweiser will follow JR. And the fan base that Junior has is next to none. In the press conference he did mention that the #8 was owned by the car owner and that he was pretty sure that DEI would want to keep that number, so a new number it is for JR…..but it will still be JR!

Dale Earnhardt JR is concerned with winning championships, not so much concerned about the money. In the press conference he said "This decision was based soley on my driving career not my personal thoughts on DEI. We still want that company to succeed." He also said "I think there's not one team that's going to lay a dollar figure out there that's going to be different than anyone else. Money is not the issue. It's not about the bigest paycheck. The person that allows me to accomplish what I want to accomplish on the race track and in this race shop is what Im looking at." He later followed up with, "… I'm disappointed so I expect my fans to be disappointed. Hopefully I can go accomplish the things that I want to accomplish and put on the show that I think I can put on and give my fans more to celebrate. I feel like over the last year or two I've short-changed my fans. I'm hoing to win some races and win some championships to give those guys what they are paying for."

With that said, that could be a big decision factor on which team he settles on. He did not say anything about already having made a deal with another team, in fact he stated "As far as a team is concerned, we will make that decision at a later date. It depends on what team wants me."But of course there is a lot of speculation. And what teams would that be? Who wouldn’t take him? But there is rumors about Hendricks and of course Richard Childress. Mike Dillon, VP of Completion with Childress Racing is quoted as saying they would love to have him, but by listening to the rumor mill, he does not believe that they are in the running.

In his press conference he explains how he still wants his fathers company (DEI) to be successful and to carry on his fathers legacy. He also stated that his father wanted him to be a big part of the company and that he (JR) did not feel like that was happening. Maybe in 20 year he said, but not right now.

I think a move for JR will be good for him. He obviously is not happy were he is and things are not going the way he wants them to. He can’t get what he wants out of DEI so why not make a fresh start and try to get some championships.

All in all JR is not happy at DEI. He does not believe that the company is going where his father had invisioned it going.

All of this comes after months and months of negotiation with Teressa Earnhardt (JR’s step-mom) and DEI. JR wanted 51% of the stake in DEI and felt that it should be given to him because it was his fathers team. I agree. But Teressa wanted to sell the shares to him for as much as $75 million.

Just a little note, JR is my second favorite racer. So I wish him the best of luck. He seems like a genuine nice guy that doesn’t take any flack from anyone. I like his style and his driving. Maybe he would like to drive dodges and join Ryan Newman at Penske that would be cool. I highly doubt that as he stated that he wants to continue driving Chevy's and is happy with his relationship with Chevy.



Mike Pratt

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