DEI and Waltrip part ways

UPDATE NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Michael Waltrip will discuss today's announcement that he will not be returning to DEI for the 2006 season tonight on SPEED Channel's Trackside (7 p.m. ET, LIVE) hosted by Steve Byrnes, with panelists Rusty Wallace, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond. 07/15/05 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI) and Michael Waltrip announced today they will no longer be together beginning in 2006. The DEI #15 NAPA Chevrolet has been driven by Michael Waltrip, a fan-favorite, in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for the past five seasons where he earned four victories, including two Daytona 500 wins in 2001 and 2003. "All of us at DEI want to thank Michael for all his contributions to our organization and wish him well as he moves on in his career," said Richie Gilmore, DEI's Vice President of Motorsports. "Dale and Teresa gave me an opportunity with a winning organization that I have been proud to be an integral part of for the last five years," Waltrip said. "My professional relationship with DEI is ending, but my personal relationships have ties that are deep-rooted. Therefore, my decision to leave DEI is a difficult one. Our individual visions for the future are taking different courses, but our goals are the same- to be successful in the premier division of NASCAR." "DEI's NASCAR Nextel Cup focus for 2006," continued Gilmore, "will be to sharpen every entity of our race teams by preparing the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, driven by Martin Truex Jr., and the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the championship. Additionally, we are working diligently with our current partner, NAPA, on returning to the #15 car." DEI PR

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