Evernham: Kahne-Stremme feud better end soon


DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Kasey Kahne and David Stremme have provided a bit of humor to a week dominated by Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s departure from DEI.

It began when Kahne called Stremme fat and out of shape following a run-in with the fellow Dodge driver last week at Richmond International Raceway.

"If my guys have something to settle with somebody they need to go work it out like men, because the sport doesn't need people tearing up race cars and being crazy in front of fans."
-- Ray Evernham

Stremme fired back on Wednesday, questioning Kahne's mental state.

The two then spent all day Thursday together shooting a commercial for a sponsor without speaking.

Ray Evernham, who owns Kahne's car, doesn't expect the feud to carry over into Saturday night's race at Darlington Raceway.

"I know from my side of things my drivers are not going to go out and wreck other people purposely," Evernham said. "That's not going to happen. And if it does happen, it's only going to happen once. I don't play that game.

"If my guys have something to settle with somebody they need to go work it out like men, because the sport doesn't need people tearing up race cars and being crazy in front of fans."

Evernham is a big proponent of putting up a boxing ring like Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler once did.

"Let everybody settle it however they want," said Evernham, an amateur boxer. "But tearing up race cars and causing embarrassment to sponsors and fans is not a part of my program."

Kahne's problem with Stremme didn't begin last weekend.

"I've always had a hard time racing with him," he said. "I don't know why. When I'm around his car we just have problems. I was trying to pass him for 10 laps and there were other cars passing me. I just got frustrated.

"He pointed me down the backstretch and didn't give me any room on the frontstretch, which he didn't need to do. I ended up wrecking because I fought that."

DEI title?
Is DEI capable of winning a championship?

"Not in Junior's eyes, evidently," said Steve Hmiel, the technical director at DEI. "But it is in my eyes."

Hmiel said nobody in the company will give up because Earnhardt "wants to prove he can drive race cars."

"The guys who work on [the cars] want to prove that they have a worthwhile team," he said. "People might want to lie down because they are frustrated and nervous and don't know what the future holds.

"But the truth is, when you go to the core of a racer, the racer is going to do all he can to prove he's as good as everybody ever thought he was. From Junior's standpoint and the company's standpoint, there would be absolutely no advantage to anyone laying down."

Lame duck?
Kurt Busch doesn't believe Earnhardt will get the same treatment from DEI that he got from Roush Racing after announcing in 2005 that he would leave for Penske Racing the next year.

"It will be much easier for him in this case," he said. "His team is not going to kick him on his rear and kick him out the door."

Busch was suspended by Roush for the final two races after being charged with speeding and reckless driving outside of Phoenix International Raceway.

"So it's going to be much more civilized with his departure over there than what I went through," Busch said.

Cliff notes
A.J. Allmendinger, who qualified 20th for his first race at Darlington, had a unique perspective on handling the track dubbed "Too Tough To Tame."

"I would say jumping off a cliff, basically, because that's about what it feels like," he said when asked to compare racing at Darlington to any other track. "You dove off into Turn 1 and it's sliding.

"They're telling you that you should get back to the throttle and you're telling them there is no way in hell you're going back to the throttle."

Allmendinger said it was "crazy" that he made the field.

"It helps when you close your eyes and just hold your breath," he said of his qualifying run. "My God. I'm shaking still."

Partnership update
Evernham said any potential partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett remains several months away.

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