Dale Jr. can't sneeze without the NASCAR 'groupies' in the media corp reporting about it
Although Dale Earnhardt Jr., 36, has another year remaining on his deal with Hendrick Motorsports, he didn't want the next contract to become a distraction.
That's why he enlisted his sister/confidant/business manager, Kelley, to expedite the process. I'm not in the middle of it," Earnhardt said. "Kelley and Marshall (Carlson, HMS president and Chief Operation Officer) are talking it out. I haven't even been in discussions. I called Rick and I said, 'Let's get this going,' and he said, 'Cool.' I told him, 'I'm going to let Kelley do my end,' and he said, 'I'm going to let Marshall do my end,' and they're handling it. I'm fortunate that I have good people around me that I trust enough to handle those kind of things. I could let Kelley do it from the ground up and not even worry about it, just not even have any questions or doubts. Even when she's finished with everything, I don't go in there and go, 'Man, I would have done this different,' or "I think this number should be different or should be better or worse.' She comes to me and tells me what's going on and I say, 'That sounds great! Keep going,' (laughs).
"They're obviously one of the best places in the garage - if not THE best team in the garage to be with - and I wouldn't want to be anyplace else. No way." Junior said there's no set timetable to wrap up the contract. He'd just like to have it in place before the end of the season so his concentration remains on competition and not external distractions. He understands firsthand - and from watching other drivers how disruptive and damaging the uncertainty of a driver's status can be to teams and sponsors. The rumored five year extension would cover Earnhardt until he's 42. "I just want to get it done before we get into the offseason," Earnhardt said. "I have another year to go, but I was sitting there and seeing how Carl (Edwards) and those guys - seeing how much attention it draws to Carl and those guys and me, when I was in my last contract year. I was like, 'Hey, Rick, let's knock this out and we won't have to worry about it next year. You just tell me what you want to do. If you want to keep me as your driver, I'm happy to stay. I'm really happy where I'm at and if that's the way you feel, let's go ahead and do it. Why wait until next year? 'Cause the press wants to know what's going on and we won't have to worry about that.'"
Earnhardt says there is "no pressure" with the current negotiations. Very humbly, he said the decision for him to remain in the Hendrick Motorsports stable was dependent on "Mr. H." FoxSports
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