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Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to use Hendrick Motorsports engines in 2013

The "Earnhardt" in Earnhardt-Childress Racing won't use the company's engines beginning in 2013.

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will use motors leased from Hendrick Motorsports starting next season, a team representative told reporters at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. The move is surprising considering ECR was formed as a joint engine-building effort between Earnhardt Ganassi and Richard Childress Racing.

EGR has struggled over the last two seasons with drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray, and team owner Chip Ganassi apparently felt a change was necessary in the engine program.

Hendrick engines have a reputation for being the best in the sport, and five Hendrick-powered drivers made the Chase this season.

RCR team owner Richard Childress said he wasn't surprised by Ganassi's decision to pull out of ECR and said he's been aware of the possibility for quite some time.

"It won't affect us in any way," Childress said.

Childress said his team will have "a couple" new customers next season – though he wouldn't say who – and also has an existing sponsor in Furniture Row Racing. ECR will retain its name because the teams "have a different relationship with the engines," Childress said.

"It's as good as it ever was," Childress said of the program, which is based at his shop. "We just hired two new EFI people and we're still growing it. ... We're going to have a strong engine shop. We'll be fine."

ECR also does engines for sports car racing and dirt car racing.

CLARIFICATION: ECR engines was a deal between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and RCR – it had nothing to do with Ganassi. DEI still exists and still has its own business entities just as Ganassi does in other series (IndyCar and Grand-Am). Ganassi partnered with DEI only on the No. 1 car in the Sprint Cup Series.