Dale Earnhardt, Inc.


Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
DEI Logo.jpg
Owner(s) Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt
Base Mooresville, North Carolina
Series Sprint Cup, Busch Series
Notable drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr, Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, Steve Park
Manufacturer Chevrolet
Opened 1996
Closed present
Career
Drivers' Championships 6
Race victories 24

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) was a NASCAR-related organization located in Mooresville, North Carolina, United States working to continue the legacy of Dale Earnhardt. It was originally formed in 1980 by seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt who died in a crash on the closing lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, and his wife Teresa Earnhardt. Despite his ownership of the racing team, he never raced for it in the Winston Cup; instead he preferred to race for his long-time mentor and backer Richard Childress at RCR. DEI's financial difficulties became critical when Anheuser-Busch and the United States Army pulled sponsorship following the exit of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., leading to the team's merger with Chip Ganassi Racing.[1]

Dale Earnhardt Incorporated continues to celebrate the legacy of Dale Earnhardt today through annual celebrations on Earnhardt's birthday (Dale Earnhardt Day), April 29, a showroom and retail experience, and extensive partnerships to enhance tributes to Dale Earnhardt. The campus is open to visitors Monday through Friday and some weekends during race times. Fans can also join the official Dale Earnhardt fan club, Club E, for more insider information and behind the scenes experiences at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated.

Contents

Sprint Cup history

Car #01 history

The #01 U.S. Army car

The #01 car started out as the MB2 Motorsports #36 Pontiac in 1997 with Skittles sponsorship. Derrike Cope was the driver and he finished 27th in the final point standings. Veteran driver Ernie Irvan took over from Cope in 1998. The season was highlighted by Irvan's pole win at the Brickyard 400. M&M's replaced Skittles as the team's sponsor in 1999. Irvan retired from racing in September following a crash at Michigan International Speedway. Dick Trickle temporarily replaced Irvan before the driving chores were permanently turned over to journeyman Jerry Nadeau.

Nadeau left MB2 due to a prior commitment to drive for Hendrick Motorsports, and MB2 signed four-time winner Ken Schrader to fill the seat. Schrader drove the #36 for three seasons before leaving for BAM Racing. In 2003, the United States Army replaced M&M's as the team's sponsor. The car number switched from #36 to #01 to support the Army's slogan, "An Army of One." Nadeau agreed to return to MB2 as the driver of the #01 car. In May, Nadeau was seriously injured in a practice accident at Richmond International Raceway. Nadeau has not yet returned to motorsports and is not expected to do so. The team used several temporary substitutes before signing Joe Nemechek to permanently drive the #01 car. Nemechek won the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway in 2004 and signed a multi-year agreement to remain with MB2 in July 2005. Mark Martin drove the car for 23 races (21 points races plus the Budweiser Shootout and Nextel All-Star Challenge) in 2007, with Regan Smith & Aric Almirola (after the DEI-Ginn merger) filling the rest of the seat time.

The #01 was added to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. as part of the July 25, 2007 merger with Ginn Racing. Smith drove the #01 full-time in 2008. No full-time primary sponsor was named, with Principal Financial Group sponsoring at the Daytona 500, followed by Coors Light for two races. Principal Financial became an associate sponsor following those races. Smith became the first rookie in history to finish every race he entered during the 2008 season. This helped Smith claim Rookie of the Year honors at season's end. As a result of the merger with Ganassi, the 01 team disbanded after the 2008 season, with the owner points going to the #33 team owned by Richard Childress Racing.

Car #1 history

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. debuted in Winston Cup in 1996 as the #14 Racing for Kids Chevrolet, driven by Robby Gordon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jeff Green drove the car in two more races that year. The next year, Busch Series standout Steve Park drove the car in five races with the Burger King sponsorship. In 1998, the team switched numbers with car owner Richard Jackson with the car changing from #14 to #1, and receiving sponsorship from Pennzoil and Park making a bid for NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors. The team got off to a bumpy start after Park failed to qualify at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in just the third race of the year. The next week, Park broke his leg at a testing accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Two weeks later, the team hired three-time champion Darrell Waltrip to pilot the car while Park recovered from his injuries. Waltrip posted two top ten finishes in the car until Park made his return at the Brickyard 400, where he finished 35th following a crash. He posted two eleventh-place finishes and finished 42nd in points that year.

Park fared better the next year, posting 5 top 10 finishes and finishing 14th in points. In 2000, Park won his first two Bud Pole awards, and won his first race at his home track at Watkins Glen International Raceway. He finished 11th year in points. The race after Earnhardt's death in 2001, Park beat Bobby Labonte in a photo finish at North Carolina Speedway. But his career stalled when competing in a Busch Series race at Darlington Speedway, his steering wheel became disconnected from the steering column during a caution flag period and his car veered immediately left and was slammed into by the quicker-moving vehicle of Larry Foyt. Kenny Wallace took over the car while Park recuperated, with a best finish of second at the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 at North Carolina speedway. Park gradually recovered and returned, ironically, at the spring Darlington race in 2002. He has since struggled to maintain his career. Midway through 2003, he was released from the ride and was replaced by Jeff Green. (Park took over Green's old ride at Richard Childress Racing, who used to be Earnhardt's owner.) Both Green and Pennzoil left following the season, and the team moved to part-time status, occasionally popping up to field cars for two-time winner John Andretti.

The team ran a part-time schedule in 2005 with Martin Truex Jr. driving a Bass Pro Shops-sponsored car, and moved to full time status in 2006. On June 4, 2007, Truex scored his first career NEXTEL Cup victory in the #1 car at Dover International Speedway, in a COT race. Truex also made the Chase For the Nextel Cup that year, DEI's only representative and (to date) the last DEI car to qualify for the Chase. He did not return to Victory Lane in 2008 and failed to make the chase. At the end of 2009, he left the team for Michael Waltrip Racing to drive the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry.

Car #8 history

The #8 Budweiser Car

The #8 car started out in the NASCAR Busch Series as the #3 ACDelco Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1998. Junior won championships in both 1998 and 1999 in the Busch Series in this car. In 1999, Earnhardt drove in 5 Winston Cup races in the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet, finishing in the top 10 once, leading one lap, and one DNF. (The number 8 had been previously used by Stavola Brothers Racing, who had ceased operation two years prior.)

In 2000, Junior made a full time jump to Winston Cup. Despite winning two poles and three races (including The Winston), Junior finished runner-up to Matt Kenseth for NASCAR Rookie of the Year. On July 7 2001, he won his first race at Daytona International Speedway following his father's death. On February 15, 2004, Dale won the Daytona 500, 6 years after his father won the 500. He went on to collect 5 more wins for the season. Though he failed to qualify for the Chase for the Cup in 2005, he rebounded in 2006 and qualified for the 2006 Chase for the Cup, where he finished 5th. Earnhardt, Jr announced on May 10, 2007, that he would not be returning to DEI for the 2008 season. On June 13, 2007, it was officially announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be moving to Hendrick Motorsports for the 2008 season. On August 16, 2007 it was announced that during the transition to HMS, Dale Earnhardt would not retain the #8 car number.[2] On September 12 it was announced that the 8 car would be shared by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola for the 2008 season, with the U.S. Army sponsoring. Martin left DEI following the season to drive the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports, and the Army left following the season as well to sponsor Ryan Newman's #39 car for Stewart Haas Racing.

Almirola was signed to drive the #8 Guitar Hero World Tour Chevrolet for the full 2009 season, but the sponsorship only lasted 5 races. EGR announced following the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 that the operations of the #8 team were being suspended indefinitely due to lack of sponsorship for the team, which had been operating since the beginning of the season on a race-to-race basis. If EGR is able to find full-season sponsorship for the #8 at any point during the rest of the season Almirola will return to the car to drive it; however, EGR was said to be entering into negotiations with other NASCAR teams to have Almirola drive a part-time schedule for them, although Almirola has yet to return to Cup racing.

Car #15 history

The #15 team originated from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as the #16 NAPA Chevrolet Silverado driven by Ron Hornaday. The team won two championships and 23 races during this time (1995–1999). In 2000, the team moved to the Busch Series as car #3. Hornaday won twice, finished 8th in points, but finished second to Kevin Harvick (who ironically took over Earnhardt's car after Dale was killed) for Rookie of the Year. In 2001, the team once again moved to a different series, but this time, without Hornaday. The team was now #15 (a possible reference to the #15 Ford Thunderbird that Dale Earnhardt drove in the early and mid-1980s) and sponsored still by NAPA. Michael Waltrip now handled the driving chores, and won his first race at the Daytona 500, but it was overshadowed by the death of Dale Earnhardt. Waltrip won four times over the next five years. In 2005, Waltrip announced he would no longer drive for DEI, taking NAPA to his own team, Michael Waltrip Racing.

The #15 team moved to a part-time status for 2006 with DEI's Busch Series driver Paul Menard and sponsorship provided by Menards Home Improvement stores. Menard posted his first top-10 at Atlanta Motor Speedway by finishing seventh. Menard moved to full-time in the 2007 season. After the merger between Ginn Racing and DEI, the #15 team absorbed the owner points from the #14 car, formerly driven by Sterling Marlin, so they would be guaranteed a spot in each race for the remainder of the 2007 season. After the 2008 season, Menard left along with his sponsorship to Yates Racing, and the team was disbanded following the Ganassi merger.

Nationwide Series history

Car #3 history

The #3 car from 1989 to 2000, the car had 2 championships with Dale Earnhardt Jr driving in 1998 and 1999, The car has been driven by Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Michael Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, David Bonnett, Andy Petree, Jeff Green, Steve Park and Ron Hornaday Jr,

Car #8 history

The #8 car started racing for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 1984 with Dale Earnhardt driving, The car ran from 1984 to 1988 and then again from 2002 to 2008, The car had 2 Championships with Martin Truex Jr driving in 2004 and 2005, The car has been driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jody Ridley, Kenny Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Hank Parker Jr, Steve Park, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr and Kerry Earnhardt

Car #11 history

This Dale Earnhardt Inc. car has only been run in the Busch Series. In a portion of 2004 and all of the 2005–2006 NASCAR seasons, Paul Menard has been the driver of this car taking the car to victory once in that span in 2006 at Milwaukee. In 2007 Paul Menard left the Busch Series and climbed the ranks into the Nextel Cup Series leaving the #11 car open. The car ran a partial schedule with Truex and Menard sharing the ride.

Car #81 history

The 81 car made occasional attempts at a Winston Cup race in 2003 with mostly Jason Keller and John Andretti driving. The team hasn't been seen since, and is unlikely to return since NFL legend Tim Brown has acquired the number for his announced NEXTEL Cup team, backed by Roush Fenway Racing. The 81 ran in limited action in 2005 by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., at the Daytona, Talladega (restrictor place races), and Charlotte races in the Busch Series.

Chance 2 Motorsports

Chance 2 Motorsports was a jointly owned subsidiary of DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr.. Run by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt, the team won two Busch Series championships with Martin Truex, Jr. in 2004 and 2005. After 2005, however, Dale Earnhardt Jr. left the partnership with his stepmother to focus on his own race team, JR Motorsports.

Mergers

Ginn Racing

Dale Earnhardt Incorporated announced it had merged with Ginn Racing on July 25, 2007, adding the #01 team to join the #1, #8, #15.[3] The merger did not affect the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated team name.

  • The #01 (Mark Martin/Aric Almirola) was added to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. teams.
  • The #15 (Paul Menard) inherited owner points from the former #14 (Sterling Marlin), which guaranteed a starting spot for him at Indianapolis.
  • The #13 (Joe Nemechek) team of Ginn Racing was eliminated.
  • Bobby Ginn was listed as the owner of the #01 and #15 for the remainder of 2007.
  • The shops of Ginn Racing housed the #15 and #01.
  • Fabrication work will be done out of the Ginn Racing shops.

Chip Ganassi Racing

Further information: Chip Ganassi Racing

On November 12, 2008, DEI and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced the two teams would merge their NASCAR operations into one organization for 2009. The team, now known as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, remained a Chevy team, as Ganassi's Dodge teams made the switch.[4]

As a result of the merger, in addition to the aforementioned:

Championships

  • 1996 Craftsman Truck Series
  • 1998 Craftsman Truck Series
  • 1998 Busch Series
  • 1999 Busch Series
  • 2004 Busch Series (Chance 2)
  • 2005 Busch Series (Chance 2)

Earnhardt Technology Group

Earnhardt Technology Group was created in August, 2009 to assist up-and-coming teams with remarkable resources, and an opportunity to compete for future championships.[5] It serves the engineering and parts needs of more than 30 teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.

ETG capabilities include:

  • Engineering Services: Providing a broad range of engineering services to all levels of the racing industry.
  • Authorized Stocking Distributor of Renton Springs: ETG has the most popular rates in stock. No Waiting and No Lead time.
  • Customized Machine Shop Services: For more than 12 years, the Dale Earnhardt Inc. Machine Shop has created high precision engine, chassis and suspension components for racing’s most elite teams. This modern, state-of-the-art facility now has customers in aerospace, automotive, racing (at all levels), precision machining, medical and wind energy.
  • Powertrain leasing and services: The brainchild of Dale Earnhardt himself, the Powertrain Group provides a level of expertise and support second-to-none in the racing industry.
  • Vehicle and Component Sales: ETG is a complete resource for everything related to anyone's vehicle racing program. Programs and services include championship winning chassis design/fabrication, body hanging services to support the 2010 Nationwide Series Car of Tomorrow introduction, full array of suspension, chassis and brake components, shop supplies, pit equipment, racing accessories, and consulting and support

All information provided by Earnhardt Technology Group website.[6]

Club E

Club E is the official fan club of Dale Earnhardt. It is a membership based fan club with three different levels based on contribution level (ranging from free to $49.99).

Members of Club E not only have access to never before seen Dale Earnhardt footage, personal items, and more but are also provided with incredible values and special member events. Through partnerships, Club E members are provided special discounts at the DEI retail store, Carowinds, Kings Dominion, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Kannapolis Intimidators games, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet, and Great Wolf Lodge, Inc..[7]

Visit Dale Earnhardt Incorporated's official website to learn more information about Club E and how to become a member.

The Dale Earnhardt Foundation

The Dale Earnhardt Foundation's mission is to “Continue The Legend” and legacy of Dale Earnhardt through charitable programs and grants that sustain his lifelong commitment to Children, Education and Environmental/Wildlife Preservation.[8]

The professional staff of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is headquartered at the corporate offices of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in Mooresville, NC and works to advance the life and legacy of Dale Earnhardt through the charitable initiatives of the Foundation.

Partnerships

Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines

Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines[9] was formed in May 2007 as a cooperation between Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Richard Childress Racing to develop and build common engines for the Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series teams campaigned by the two companies. The plan included construction of a stand-alone facility located just north of Salisbury in Welcome, NC off exit 85 of I-85, and was completed in mid-2008.

Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines provides world-class Chevrolet racing engines to teams in all major NASCAR series as well as other racing leagues throughout the United States. Per ECR's website[10]: ECR currently employs more than 130 professionals dedicated to building the best high performance racing engines at the track. Day-to-day leadership is provided by Richie Gilmore (General Manager), Dr. Andy Randolph (Engine Technical Director), Rick Mann (Chief Engine Builder), Lanny Barnes (Nationwide Series Chief Engine Builder) and Greg Ollish (Nationwide Series Production manager). ECR strives every day to lead the industry in performance and innovation.

Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines has experienced instant success including winning both the 2010 Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 with Jamie McMurray, the 2011 Southern 500 with Regan Smith, Coca Cola 600 with Kevin Harvick, and Brickyard 400 with Paul Menard.[11][12][13]

JR Motorsports, Richard Childress, and Wrangler

On April 29, 2010, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced a special one race partnership with JR Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, and Wrangler Jeans where Dale Earnhardt Jr. would drive the hallowed number 3, blue and gold race car driven by Dale Earnhardt in the 1980s. The announcement was made as a special "tribute to Dale" honoring Earnhardt's induction into the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.[14]

The car was raced in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, 2010. It was the first Nationwide Series race in the Car of Tomorrow. Earnhardt Jr. started third, lead 33 laps, and won the race. This was his first competitive NASCAR win since 2008, and considered one of the best tributes possible for Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Morgan-Dollar Motorsports

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. formerly had a driver development contract with Morgan-Dollar Motorsports to provide trucks for development drivers in 2007. This was inherited from Ginn Racing.

References

  1. ^ http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/30198446/
  2. ^ ESPN - Deal can't be reached to bring No. 8 to Junior's new team - Nascar
  3. ^ David Caraviello (2007-07-25). "Dale Earnhardt Inc., Ginn Racing complete merger". NASCAR.com. NASCAR.com. http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/cup/07/25/dei.ginn.merger/index.html. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  4. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/news/story?id=3698603
  5. ^ "Expertise and Innovation Live Here". Dale Earnhardt, Inc.. DEI. http://www.daleearnhardtinc.com/techgroup/about/. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  6. ^ "Everything a Racing Team Needs. To Win.". Dale Earnhard, Inc.. DEI. http://www.daleearnhardtinc.com/techgroup/capabilities/. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  7. ^ "Incredible Values". Dale Earnhardt Inc.. DEI. http://clube.daleearnhardtinc.com/Values.aspx. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  8. ^ "Continue the Legend". Dale Earnhardt, Inc.. DEI. http://www.daleearnhardtinc.com/foundation/about/. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  9. ^ "RCR & DEI to Build Engine Program Together". Richard Childress Racing. RCR PR. 2007-05-18. http://www.rcrracing.com/messageboards/trans/displayShortMsgRpt.asp?type=1&id=2069. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  10. ^ "About ECR". Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines. ECR. http://www.ecrengines.com/About.aspx. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  11. ^ "Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines Wins the Daytona 500". Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines. ECR. 2010-02-16. http://www.ecrengines.com/ContentItemDetail.aspx?ContentID=163. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  12. ^ "Jamie McMurray Wins the Brickyard 400". Dale Earnhardt, Inc.. DEI. 2010-08-25. http://www.daleearnhardtinc.com/news/all/jamie_mcmurray_wins_the_brickyard_400/. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  13. ^ http://www.nascar.com/news/110601/inside-nascar-may-recap/index.html
  14. ^ "Jr. to Drive No. 3 Wrangler Car to Honor Dale's HOF Induction". Dale Earnhardt, Inc.. DEI. 2010-04-29. http://www.daleearnhardtinc.com/news/all/jr._to_drive_no._3_wrangler_car_to_honor_dales_hof_induction/. Retrieved 2010-05-14. 

External links


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