DEI third team if NAPA stays?

UPDATE DEI's bid to hold sponsor NAPA to field a third team next season hinges on DEI's signing one particular, unnamed driver, which DEI executives yesterday said they didn't expect to happen. Earnhardt said he hopes to have a third team running next season, "But we don't know quite what we're going to do with that team." NAPA could stay with Michael Waltrip, who is finishing his DEI contract, and that could mean Waltrip would be able to field his own Cup team next season. Earnhardt said his own team is facing a post-season shakeup, with crew chief Steve Hmiel expected to return to technical director and with a new boss coming in. But Earnhardt said he's trying not to upset his own team right now: "For example, if we said Tony Eury Jr. was coming back to run our team, then our team right now might implode the rest of the year. "We definitely have to make some changes at the end of the season. But I don't have an answer to what we're going to do. I do want to work with Tony Jr. again. But personally I think we're both immature for our age… and the more mature we get, the easier it will be for us to work together." Winston Salem Journal

08/06/05 DEI Director of Motorsports Richie Gilmore said yesterday the team is negotiating with the auto-parts supplier about staying with the No. 15 being vacated by Michael Waltrip after 2005. Gilmore said DEI already has lined up a driver to team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. for the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Gilmore wouldn't disclose a name but said it was someone prominent on another race team "that's been on our wish list for some time." "[NAPA] has some options with us, Michael and some other race teams," Gilmore said. "We've put about a two-week window on it where they've got to make the decision and we've got to make a decision and go forward. But we have a driver kind of laid out, and everything laid out." Times-Dispatch

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