That is an ad headline I hope to not see in the back of Scene Daily come this winter, but the immediate outlook for DEI isn't looking to good at the moment.
Paul Menard has just announced that he is leaving DEI next year to go to Doug Yates Racing, and he is taking his sponsorship with him.
That means that DEI now has a 4 car team with one solid sponsor, Bass Pro Shops.
The 01, and 8 cars have drivers in Regan Smith and Aric Almirola but no sponsors for next year, and the 15 car is now driver-less and sponsor-less.
I think Martin Truex Jr is now wishing he didn't sign that extension with DEI anymore that's for sure.
John Story, DEI's VP of Motorsports said today, "While we may not have as much sponsorship as some other programs, we have some very valuable assets in terms of points and positions in the top 35 that very few teams do have. There’s a ton of value in that, and we’re certainly going to use that to our fullest advantage. We’re not going to let that evaporate."
That loosely translates into, "Come one, come all. Step right on up. We have guaranteed starting spots for sale to the highest bidder!"
I wonder how this is all going to play out. Here are some possible scenarios off the top of my head:
1) Robby Gordon is looking for some sort of partnership and according to the plans revealed in his public separation from GEM Robby could be looking for some sort of merger with a large team and he has Jim Beam as a sponsor. The 15 car could be the 7 car soon.
2) Canadian Andrew Ranger has a good relationship with his longtime sponsors Wal-Mart and Tide, I wonder if he could get a shared sponsorship deal with them for the 15 car (changed to Andrew's #27 of course)?
3) What about AJ 'Dinger'? He could drive the 15 car, but who would be his sponsor? Don't know about that one.
4) What about possible sponsors for the 8 and o1 cars? Army could come back with the 8 car and bring the rest of the Armed Forces (i.e. Air Force, Marine, Coast Guard, etc.) with it as multiple sponsors.
Hmm ... you know the kid market isn't utilized enough in NASCAR right now. What about a sponsorship with Mattel that could make the 15 car pink, with Barbie on it, and sign a female driver to pilot the thing? I wonder what Danica would look like as a blonde?
Oh man! I've got it! I've got it! This is too obvious, that is why I didn't see it in the first place.
In an effort to generate interest in DEI from sponsors all DEI has to do is move Dale's grandson, Jeffrey Earnhardt, into the bigs faster than anticipated. Bringing Jeffrey into the Cup ranks certainly would generate a ton of interest, but would it work out? Maybe at first, but I think it would do more damage than good as far as Jeffrey's best interests are concerned, but when you are trying to save the family business so you can have a future then anything goes.
Who knows where this is going to go, but it is going to be interesting to say the least. I just hope the company does not end up like Morgan-McClure where the shop is sitting empty with a bunch of cars inside waiting to be driven with no sponsorship in sight to get them back at the track.
Please tell me who said:
Quote One: "I still don't like restrictor-plate racing. I'm not that good at it." Was it Dale Jr or Dale Sr?
Keep track of all 4 quotes over the next four days and then, once you get all 4 clues, email me all of your answers, along with your mailing details with the subject heading of 'Amp Contest'. Thanks.