Earnhardt released by Rick Ware Racing, accused of shopping

UPDATE Jeffrey Earnhardt will drive for Rick Ware Racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend after all.

A day after both sides lobbed accusations that blamed the other for their sudden breakup, the team announced Wednesday that Earnhardt will continue to drive the No. 1 truck in the Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville as originally scheduled.

The team will have to find sponsorship for Earnhardt beyond Martinsville.

“We just want to race, and sometimes the issues of business just seem to make us lose focus on why we are here," team owner Rick Ware said in a statement. “Jeffrey will be in the truck at Martinsville and we will work hard to continue to keep him in that seat.

“The amount of effort we have poured into his career and having a place for him to perform is important in his development. He is young and there is a lot of promise in him and both the management of RWR and [Jeffrey Earnhardt Inc.] have the same goal for him."

Just a day earlier, Ware had said Earnhardt would not be in the truck because he had tried to find another ride and was possibly planning to take sponsor Fuel Doctor with him. Earnhardt said he only started looking when it appeared Rick Ware Racing might no longer have a sponsor for the truck.

In the three races this year, the 21-year-old Earnhardt has had finishes of seventh at Daytona, 19th at Phoenix and 20th at Darlington. He is 10th in the series standings.

Earnhardt is the grandson of the seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, son of Kerry Earnhardt and nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

03/29/11 Rick Ware Racing announced Tuesday that it has parted ways with Jeffrey Earnhardt because it says that the 21-year-old driver and his advisers are looking for another team and trying to entice sponsor Fuel Doctor to leave RWR.

Earnhardt, the grandson of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt and son of Kerry Earnhardt, drove for Rick Ware Racing in select races last year and was scheduled to run the full Camping World Truck Series season in 2011 with the organization. He also drove in the Rolex 24 At Daytona for Ware.

“We have been informed by several team owners that our driver and his management company has been shopping around for another team, alluding that sponsorship was coming with them," team owner Rick Ware said in a statement.

Ware said that he has had Fuel Doctor as a sponsor since 2008.

“It is disheartening that all the effort, time and money spent on Jeffrey have been for nothing, but we have been given no choice but to look for another driver. … It’s a disappointment that I have not felt in this sport before," Ware said.

In the three truck races this year, Earnhardt had finishes of seventh at Daytona, 19th at Phoenix and 20th at Darlington. He is 10th in the series standings.

“We have proven that our equipment can get to the front," Ware said. “We have had several top-10 qualifying and finishes in the past eight months and we won’t let this stop us."

There was no immediate response from Earnhardt or his management team.

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