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Menard rejects DEI for Yates Racing
Paul Menard will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. and drive for Yates Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series beginning in 2009.

Menard carries the sponsorship of his family-owned Menards home improvement store chain over from DEI to Yates, which could field three teams next year.

Yates already has drivers Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland but has pieced together sponsorship for those cars throughout the year and still needs to solidify sponsorship for them next year. The Yates teams are affiliated with Roush Fenway Racing, which helps with marketing and sponsorship.

“This is a great opportunity, and I’m glad to be joining the Yates Racing organization next season,” said Menard in a news release issued by his publicists. “I think a lot of what Doug Yates and Max Jones are doing over there building for continued success. I’m excited to be a part of their future and excited to work with Travis and David.

“You look at what Doug and the Ford Motor Co.  have done in this sport, they’ve created a lot of horsepower and hoisted quite a few trophies over the years. I’d like to help continue that for both of them.”

Menard is in his second season of full-time Cup competition at DEI. He competed in 30 races last year, not getting locked into the top 35 until the merger with Ginn Racing, and was 34th in points. He is 28th in points this year.

“It’s a positive addition for us to get a guy like Paul in camp here," team co-owner Doug Yates said. "He’s been through adversity in his first year in Cup and shown tremendous improvement in his second year.

“He’s a racer, a guy who likes to be at the shop a lot, from what I understand, and that’s what we like here. Plus, he already has a good relationship with our current drivers, so adding that third source of data should help our entire team rise up.”

A car number for Menard is still to be determined.

Menard’s departure is a blow to DEI, whose officials were confident they could re-sign the driver after the team had re-signed Martin Truex Jr. in August for 2009. Scenedaily.com

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