No surprise, but Chevrolet has resigned Dale Earnhardt, Inc. as a Chevy Team for the Nextel/Sprint Cup Series. The deal extends at least through the 2008 season.
"Chevrolet enjoyed a successful relationship, including six NASCAR Cup championships, with the legendary Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel of his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet , and we’re proud of our longstanding relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. which extends all the way back to when Dale and Teresa Earnhardt founded the business. We’re pleased to be a part of the DEI family and look forward to continued success with one of racing’s leading organizations."
That comment came from Ed Peper, Chevy general manager. There was, of course, no doubt that DEI would remain with Chevrolet, though Toyota sweet-talked Joe Gibbs into defecting from the “bowtie brigade.” Chevrolet has dominated Nextel Cup competition this year, even though DEI itself has often seemed to be slipping behind. No doubt, keeping the Chevrolet assistance is a major component of DEI’s future plans, including those of Ginn Racing, which recently merged with DEI.
At this point, though, there is still space available in the Chevrolet garage. The defection of Gibb Racing leaves one top-tier slot open for Chevrolet. It remains unclear what team will be the beneficiary of the available space.