DEI to rob from the grave to survive? UPDATE #3 Not so fast, Rusty Wallace said in a statement released via e-mail to the Observer by his son, Greg, who is vice president of Rusty Wallace Inc.
"I love Kenny to death; he's been trying to get me back in a car ever since I retired after 2005," the statement said. "While any rumors like this are certainly flattering, they're untrue. I have a long-term commitment to ABC and ESPN and I really love what I'm doing right now."
10/01/08 From an article at SPEEDtv.com by Kenny Wallace: The hot NASCAR rumor right now is not something you’d hear anywhere other than around the race shops in Mooresville, N.C. Everyone wants to know if my brother Rusty Wallace is coming out of retirement to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season.
I’m running the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega and was at Michael’s shop Tuesday being fitted for my seat. Six different crew members came up to me and said they’d heard a rumor Rusty was coming back to drive for DEI. These rumors get started in the Mooresville area because the shops are so close to each other and nothing can be kept secret for long. All I can say is that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And he is definitely considering stepping back into a race car. He’s considering this huge move because he watched Brett Favre come out of retirement in the NFL and his good friend Mark Martin is giving it another shot next year at Hendrick. If Mark had quit, Rusty would have been comfortable with his retirement. But watching Mark, who is a couple of years younger than my brother, stage this comeback has really tugged on Rusty’s heartstrings.
Rusty has told me numerous times he can outrun half the drivers in the Cup Series and he truly is giving a lot of thought to returning to the track. If he wants to make that commitment, I’ll support him 110-percent. The decision is Rusty’s and his wife Patti’s, but I think the whole possibility is very inspirational and I’m looking forward to his answer. If he comes back, I think he’ll be a bit surprised by the new car. I predict Rusty will be successful but he’ll be shocked that he won’t have control of the chassis the way he used to. He’ll have an adjustment period because the cars are controlled by engineers, bump-stops and seven-post machines, technology that wasn’t in such great use when he left the sport. There is no doubt Rusty has the talent to run well but he’ll probably be upset he won’t be able to set up the car on his own or tell the team how to do it. Maybe we’ll know sometime soon if I’m right or not. SPEEDtv
09/30/08 Today it was announced that Menard is definitely moving to Yates Racing.
09/29/08 Theresa Earnhardt is quickly finding out that Dale Earnhardt Jr. made the DEI team, certainly not her.
Paul Menard will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the season to drive for Yates Racing, The Associated Press is reporting. Menard is expected to announce Tuesday that both he and his sponsorship will move to Yates, a person familiar with Menard’s decision told The AP. The person requested anonymity because Menard had yet to make his announcement.
The loss could ultimately cripple DEI because Menard’s sponsor is his father’s Midwest-based hardware chain. The loss of driver and sponsor leaves DEI with just one full-time sponsor and three drivers signed for next season.
DEI is a four-car team this year, but has lacked full sponsorship for rookie Regan Smith’s team all season.