Eury Sr. will head up new dedicated DEI test team
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. said Wednesday it is forming a dedicated team for testing, which Tony Eury Sr. will lead.
Eury had been the crew chief for rookie Paul Menard, but is giving up that position to focus on the test team. Dave Charpentier, an engineer on Menard's crew, will take over for Eury beginning with this weekend's race at Pocono Raceway.
The top teams in NASCAR have dedicated test teams, which travel to non-Nextel Cup tracks during the week to collect data. Hendrick Motorsports is believed to lead the industry in testing, and rival competitors have complained that Hendrick has spent about 100 days testing this season; Hendrick officials say the number is closer to 30.
But it led Dale Earnhardt Jr. to complain last month that DEI wasn't putting forth a similar effort.
DEI's test team will use Menard, Kerry Earnhardt and developmental drivers for the test team, which is hoping to hit the track June 19 and 20 at Kentucky Speedway.
"We have to do this," DEI general manager John Story said. "If you want to keep up, or be the best, this is just one element of the things you have to do."
Although Menard has struggled to make races this season -- he's missed five of the 13 Cup events -- Eury is not being moved because of it. Eury spent several years as Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief, then moved into research and development when his son, Tony Eury Jr., took over Earnhardt's crew.
Eury went back to the pit box this season with Menard.
"We needed some veteran leadership to run that program, and instead of looking to the outside to hire someone, Tony accepted the position," Story said.
DEI has made several behind-the-scenes upgrades in the month since Earnhardt said he was leaving the company at the end of the season. The team formed an engine partnership with Richard Childress Racing, and is working on buying a seven-post shaker -- an expensive machine that simulates racing conditions.
And DEI scored its first victory in over a year on Monday when Martin Truex Jr. won at Dover International Speedway.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press