Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
is a NASCAR
team based in Mooresville, North Carolina
. Originally formed in 1980, the team was owned by seven-time Winston Cup
champion Dale Earnhardt
, before his death in a crash
on the closing lap of the 2001 Daytona 500
. Despite his ownership of the racing team, he never raced for it in the Winston Cup; instead preferring to race for his long-time mentor and backer Richard Childress
The team is currently owned by widow Teresa Earnhardt. Managed by former Sony BMG executive Max Siegel, DEI currently fields four full-time Sprint Cup teams.
Car #01 History
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 will drive 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.
Car #1 History
Dale Earnhardt, Inc. debuted in Winston Cup
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. He 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.
Car #8 History
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.
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 7th 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. On September 12th it was announced that the 8 car would be shared by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola for the 2008 season, with U.S. Army sponsoring.
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 agained 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.
Sprint Cup statistics
|| Top Fives
|| Top Tens
|| Poles |
|| 14 |
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. It is likely that the car may come back to field development drivers Jeffrey Earnhardt
and Trevor Bayne
, along with Truex and Menard.
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.
. After 2005, however, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. left the partnership with his stepmother to focus on his own race team, JR Motorsports
Ginn Racing Merger
Dale Earnhardt Incorporated
announced it had merged with Ginn Racing
on July 25th, 2007, adding the #01 team to join the #1, #8, #15. 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.
- 1996 Craftsman Truck Series
- 1998 Craftsman Truck Series
- 1998 Busch Series
- 1999 Busch Series
- 2004 Busch Series (Chance 2)
- 2005 Busch Series (Chance 2)
Richard Childress Racing
Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies
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 Busch Series
teams campaigned by the two companies. The plan includes construction of a stand-alone facility located just north of Salisbury
off exit 85 of I-85, with completion expected in mid-2008.
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