Teresa Earnhardt stands by criticism of Dale Jr.

Teresa Earnhardt said Thursday she doesn’t worry much about what people think of her these days.

“I care," Earnhardt said when asked if she has been treated fairly since Dale Earnhardt’s death. “But I don’t think life is fair. I think it’s what you make it."

In her first substantive interview with the Observer since her husband’s death in 2001, Teresa Earnhardt commented only briefly about the current situation at Dale Earnhardt Inc., the race team she and her husband established and for which her stepson now drives.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who after his father’s death has assumed the role as the sport’s most popular star, has a DEI contract that ends after the 2007 season.

Talks on a new contract have been under way for several months, but recent developments have fueled speculation he might consider not re-signing to drive the No. 8 Chevrolets owned by the Mooresville-based team.

In December, Teresa Earnhardt told the Wall Street Journal that “right now the ball is in his (Earnhardt Jr.’s) court to decide whether he wants to be a NASCAR driver or a public personality."

When asked Thursday if that quote was accurate, Teresa Earnhardt said, “Probably."

Earnhardt Jr. said on Jan. 8 that he had not talked to his stepmother about the comment, but said he “really didn’t appreciate it."

“Mine and Teresa’s relationship…is what it is," Earnhardt Jr. said. “It ain’t a bed of roses. The relationship we have today is the same relationship we had when I was 6 years old when I moved into that house with Dad and her. It has always been the same."

Teresa Earnhardt brushed aside a question about any family squabbling.

“We’re just a typical family with normal relations and we’re moving ahead," she said. “And we’re fine. As far as DEI goes, we’re growing and just trying to make it as big and as good as we can. We’re full speed ahead." More at Charlotte Observer

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