DEI and Ginn to merge

UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s expansion has moved into overdrive. DEI completed the acquisition of two of Ginn Racing's Nextel Cup teams on Tuesday and will field four teams this weekend in Indianapolis, the Observer has learned.

In the deal announced to employees at Ginn and DEI, the No. 14 team's points will move to the No. 15 at DEI, providing driver Paul Menard a safety net and ensure his spot in the field in Sunday's Allstate 400. Menard's team will not have to change its number in the process, sources confirmed.

Drivers Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek, who drove the Nos. 13 and 14, respectively, were released by Ginn Racing last week because of lack of sponsorship.

In addition, driver Mark Martin's No. 01 team moves under the DEI banner and he will continue to be paired with newcomer Aric Almirola — a deal that was announced by Ginn last week. Almirola will drive in the Cup races Martin does not for the rest of the season.

In a separate deal, DEI officials have talked with Martin about driving the organization's No. 8 Chevrolet next season which is being vacated by Dale Earnhardt Jr., sources said. The result of those discussions remains unclear. ThatsRacin

07/18/07 Despite reports to the contrary, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Ginn Racing have not come to an agreement on a merger. The financially troubled Ginn Racing has shut down its Busch team and Tuesday shut down one of its three Nextel Cup teams. They also announced that Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Aric Almirola would split seat time with veteran Mark Martin in 2007 and 2008. Regan Smith will take over the No. 14. But an official with DEI said that while the two have discussed a merger, they have not come an agreement. The official cited ‘several hurdles’ that are left before a merger could happen. The team official added that the persuasive argument inside DEI is that the focus should be on the teams already in their stable rather than bringing in another team. The official also said that the merger is wanted more by Ginn then by DEI. Cup Scene

07/16/07 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Ginn Racing are working on a merger agreement that, if finalized, would meld the two NASCAR organizations into a single company, multiple sources close to negotiations told on Monday.

The deal is not done, but a decision will be made soon. Both organizations hope, sources said, to firm up outstanding details and announce a partnership immediately.

This deal is an elaborate proposition that entails several obstacles, including how best to reduce from six Nextel Cup teams to the maximum four. The obvious answer, sources said, would be to eliminate Ginn's financially-strapped Nos. 13 and 14 teams.

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