MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Dale Earnhardt Junior is leaving the company
founded by his late father when his contract with Dale Earnhardt
Incorporated expires at the end of season.
It's a shake-up certain to ignite a bidding war for NASCAR's
most popular driver.
Earnhardt had asked for 51 percent ownership of the team now run
by his stepmother, Teresa. Negotiations on a contract extension
began before the start of the 2007 season and have been tense all
along. Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, had set a
deadline to get the deal done by the end of the month.
The two have adamantly stated that their only goal is to help
Junior win Cup championships, something he's been unable to do at
D-E-I. Earnhardt hasn't been a legitimate title contender since
2004. In 2005, he had a horrendous season when Teresa Earnhardt
split up his crew, and he failed to make the Chase for the
He rebounded last year by making the Chase, but was never a
threat for the title.