If it acquires Yates, DEI won't switch cars

Updated: May 7, 2007, 10:55 AM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. will not switch from Chevrolets to Fords should it acquire Robert Yates Racing if its star driver has a say in things.

"No," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "We'll be driving Chevrolets. I promise you that."

Earnhardt Jr. squelched reports that DEI might switch manufacturers if a deal can be reached with Ford-based RYR so the organization can expand to four Nextel Cup teams.

Dodge rivals

Fellow Dodge drivers Kasey Kahne and David Stremme weren't happy with each other after Sunday's race at Richmond International Raceway.

Kahne, who finished 30th after a lap-324 accident, said Stremme was going all over the place on the track.

"All the leaders were trying to pass him," he said. "I was a fast lapped car, and I was trying to pass him and he just got in the way like every weekend."

Stremme blamed Kahne for running him into the fence that left him 38th.

"That's the second time it's happened in sixth months, eight months, whatever," he said. "I've got to talk to him. He's having a bad year, but he doesn't need to take it out on everybody else."

Thank you from VT

Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer came to RIR to personally thank NASCAR and its drivers for supporting the university after the recent campus tragedy.

"I wanted to tell you that I very much admire and appreciate everything that NASCAR has done for Virginia Tech," he said during the drivers' meeting. "I've seen your hats and the name [of the school] on the cars, just carrying it on for Virginia Tech.

"Let me tell you now. We're not going to be remembered as the place where 32 people got shot. We're going to be remembered as a place that had a terrible tragedy, and with the help of people such as yourself came back to be stronger, tighter and more caring. That's the way we're going to do it. Thank you very much."

Series sponsor Sprint Nextel donated $50,000 to the recovery process.

Fixed?

John Fernandez believes Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has solved some of its issues with the Avenger that Dodge introduced as its Car of Tomorrow.

Fernandez, the former director of Dodge Motorsports and now managing director at Ganassi Racing, said adjustments were made in the front end that should provide better grip and improve handling.

Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 16th, David Stremme 21st and Reed Sorenson 37th for the race. In the previous COT race at Phoenix, Montoya started 36th, Stremme was 41st and Sorenson 27th.

Fernandez said the organization didn't have the resources to build enough COTs early and perform the necessary tests to keep up with the top teams such as Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing.

"The length of your control arm, the angle of the control, those kinds of things you can work that geometry, and that takes a lot of testing," Fernandez said. "Even with a lead-level team like ours, still we're limited in resources.

"Now we're coming back. We've got enough cars built where we can single out some cars, do a little more testing."

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

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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