It seemed just like yesterday that DEI was one of the more dominant teams in NASCAR, along with being the most uprising team also.
They were almost unbeatable at restrictor plate tracks such as Daytona and Talladega. At one point, they even won five out of eight restrictor plate races, and in most of those Michael Waltrip and Dale Jr. always seemed to finish one-two, or the other way around. Bottom line: they were a force to be reckoned with.
Here we are about three years later. You're probably guessing they have won a championship, some more restrictor plate races, the whole shebang.
In fact, DEI was all but torn apart and twisted inside out. Who is to blame, you might ask? Well, look no further than Teresa Earnhardt.
When Dale Earnhardt Sr. started DEI, he had dreams of eventually leaving it for his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., to run it. Unfortunately, Dale Sr. left us way earlier than expected after turn four of Daytona took Dale's life.
Teresa wanted no part of that. In 2007 Jr. fought to gain majority ownership of DEI. It was a very frustrating ordeal for Jr. Not only did it completely destroy his relationship with his father's widow, but it also left him with no ownership and a contract with rival Rick Hendrick.
Things were already going down the drain at the start of the 2007 season, and it just got worse when Dale announced he would be leaving DEI after 2007.
Jr. went to Hendrick and won his first race right out of the gate. He also broke his 76-race winless streak by winning at Michigan. He contended for wins and made the Chase easily.
For DEI, it was the total opposite. They didn't win one race, only finished in the top ten a handful of times, and none of the DEI cars made the chase. They also lost most of their fan base.
Now they had to merge with Gannasi this year, while Dale Jr. is driving in the best equipment and set to defend his Budweiser Shootout title, and is also a threat for the Championship.
All this because of why? Is it because Teresa is selfish, is it because maybe she's just not that smart? Maybe its beacuse she wanted to make more money.
If that were the case, she would have more money because Jr. would have been bringing in millions and millions of dollars.
When I think of DEI, I think shoulda, coulda, woulda.