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Memorabilia removed from DEI upsets Junior; team calls it misunderstanding

1/28/2008 - NASCAR

LAS VEGAS -- A mix-up over memorabilia has created hurt
feelings with Dale Earnhardt Jr., while his former team claims it's
all a misunderstanding.

Earnhardt said Monday he's upset that all signs of his stint at
Dale Earnhardt Inc. had allegedly been removed from the shop. First
told of the absence of his memorabilia last week, he originally
said he didn't care.

But at the first day of testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,
Earnhardt said time to think about it had made him mad. He said the
team members that were part of his Daytona 500 victory and two
Busch Series championships should be recognized at the shop.

"It sort of hurt my feelings that it's sort of a hack at even
the guys that are still there and have worked on that car,"
Earnhardt said. "To not see the accolades or any sort of
appreciation for the work that they did, and they're still there."

The absence of Earnhardt-related items was noticed by media who
attended a luncheon at DEI last Wednesday. The driver left his late
father's company at the end of last season, and he'll drive for
Hendrick Motorsports this year.

But Max Siegel, president of DEI, said Monday that the team has
Earnhardt memorabilia on display and "about nine of his old cars"
had been moved off the showroom floor to make room for the
luncheon.

"There seems to be some confusion over memorabilia and
merchandise," Siegel said. "We no longer have a relationship with
Dale Jr. or Budweiser, so we have no license, agreement or business
reason to sell any of that merchandise in our gift shop. But as far
as memorabilia, more than half of the showroom floor is dedicated
to Dale Jr.'s history here."