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Volume 27 No. 6
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Says He Wants Majority Ownership Of DEI

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Seeking
Majority Ownership Of DEI
Dale Earnhardt Jr., when asked Thursday what it would take to get him to re-sign with DEI, said, “I want majority ownership, basically.” When asked whether that means more than 50%, he added, “Absolutely.” But Earnhardt Jr., whose contract with DEI expires at the end of the ’07 season, said new DEI President of Global Operations Max Siegel is “going to speed things up. He’s going to improve negotiations and help those things make it a little bit easier.” Earnhardt Jr. went on to call comments made by his stepmother, DEI Owner Teresa Earnhardt, in a December 14 Wall Street Journal story — that he needed to decide whether to be a driver or a public personality — a “low blow.” Earnhardt Jr.: “She portrayed it as if I was out there waving a flag, ‘Hey, look at me, I can dance, I can sing, check me out.’” Earnhardt Jr. also suggested that support from fellow drivers and media reports that DEI needs him more than he needs DEI have helped him understand his value. Earnhardt Jr.: “A lot of people, including the media, have helped me understand what I’m worth, what the situation really is. ... When you guys write about the position and the leverage that I have, it sort of helps me understand what my sister and all these people have been trying to explain to me these five or six years” (Mult., 2/9). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw, on whether it is worth it for DEI to give Earnhardt Jr. a majority stake: “When you get down to Daytona next week and you see that sea of red in the stands of 200,000 people, you will have your answer. Yes, he’s worth it. ... (DEI) cannot exist if it doesn’t have an Earnhardt as a lead driver” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/8).

MORE FROM JUNIOR: Earnhardt Jr. said DEI is “doing really [well], but over the last five years, we haven’t progressed with the sport. There’s a lot of things we should have done in the past and need to do now to improve.” Earnhardt Jr. said the current contract talks are “really no different than the last contract. [But] we — meaning my sister and myself — have gotten a lot smarter about knowing our position in the sport and knowing really what we were worth and some of the things that we’d like to see changed” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 2/8). More Earnhardt Jr., on demanding a majority stake in DEI: “For me to invest personally in the vision and what the future holds for that company, that has to happen” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/8).

DRIVER REAX: Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick said Earnhardt Jr. is “the only one that’s got the bargaining power. ... He’s been successful, and he deserves the respect of being a grown man and not being treated like he’s 15 and somebody’s stepson” (SCENEDAILY.com, 2/8). Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon, who last month said Earnhardt Jr. was “in the power position,” said Earnhardt Jr. “thanked me for supporting him. But I told him, ‘I wasn’t supporting you, I was stating the facts.’ That’s just what it is” (L.A. TIMES, 2/9). Gordon said if Earnhardt Jr. leaves DEI, “sponsors are going to leave with him; and are you going to be able to replace that ride with another driver that’s going to bring in the dollars that he brings in?” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 2/8).