Earnhardt's sister out of surgery and doing well

Updated: March 23, 2007, 5:34 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. was feeling so good about reports of his sister's surgery on Friday that he elected not to fly home from Bristol Motor Speedway to see her.

A spokesman from Dale Earnhardt Inc. said Kelley Earnhardt Elledge was resting well and should be released from the hospital in a few days.

Elledge, a senior officer for Earnhardt Jr.'s Busch Series team, has been playing a key role in renegotiating a new deal for her brother at DEI.

Earnhardt Jr. said on Thursday that negotiations were on hold until after the surgery.

He was not available on Friday after qualifying 31st for Sunday's race.

"My sister is in the hospital right now, so we're going to have to put everything on hold for a while," Earnhardt Jr. said on Thursday.

"She's going to be in the hospital for a couple of days. We'll be watching that pretty closely. Everything in life is on hold until that gets better."

Representatives of DEI would not discuss specifics of the surgery, only to say that the family was concerned. A source close to the situation said a benign cyst was discovered on Elledge's pancreas last week.

Elledge's situation has forced the postponement of several negotiation meetings the past week and a half.

But sources close to the situation said the meetings prior to that had gone well and that Teresa Earnhardt, Earnhardt Jr.'s stepmother and the owner of DEI, was actively involved.

"Our No. 1 priority right now is for Kelley to have a speedy recovery," said Max Siegel, the vice president for Global Operations at DEI.

Earnhardt Jr. is in the last year of his contract with DEI. He has made it clear throughout the process that his priority is to re-sign, but that he would like "majority ownership" of the company.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter