Paul Menard Departure Could Start Final Collapse of DEI

Kelly CrandallSenior Writer ISeptember 29, 2008

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the state of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and how I felt it was time to start the clock on their eminent demise. I briefly recaped each driver's season and what the future may hold for the teams and company. And in doing so, I felt that Paul Menard would not be around much longer.

I was right.

In an article just published on, Menard is expected to announce tomorrow that he will be leaving DEI for Yates Racing in 2009, taking his sponsorship with him.

"Menard to leave DEI:" Paul Menard will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the season to drive for Yates Racing, The Associated Press has learned.

Menard is expected to announce Tuesday that both he and his sponsorship will move to Yates, a person familiar with Menard's decision told The AP. The person requested anonymity because Menard had yet to make his announcement."

"DEI officials were not immediately available to comment Monday night. Without Menard, DEI has just one full sponsor in Bass Pro Shops for No. 1 of Martin Truex Jr. He recently agreed to a one-year extension with DEI that takes him through 2009."

"Sponsorship from the U.S. Army is expected to leave DEI at the end of the year—perhaps for Tony Stewart's new team [No. 39 of Ryan Newman is runored]—and that leaves DEI without funding for the No. 8 Chevy that Aric Almirola will pilot."

"The No. 01 of Regan Smith, the fourth driver in DEI's current stable, has had very limited sponsorship all season. Yates has been fielding two cars this year with no full time sponsorship."

"Instead, it's pieced together several different limited programs for No. 38 of David Gilliland and No. 28 of Travis Kvapil, while receiving support from Roush Fenway Racing (in part from the Associated Press). A announcement could come later this week."

Sorry Teresa, but Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.....