With #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. set to become a free agent at the end of next season, constant but casual negotiations are under way to [at Dale Earnhardt Inc.] re-sign NASCAR's
most popular driver.
"We talk about it all the time," director of motorsports Richie Gilmore said. "It's different when you work on his contract because it's business, it's family. It's very complicated when you work with Dale Jr. and (stepmother/team owner) Teresa because there's so many different parts to it. It's his dad's business and it's complicated. I know Teresa wants it to be Dale Jr.'s and Kelley's and Kerry's (also Dale Earnhardt's children) someday because that's what Dale built it for and that's in the long-term plans."
Gilmore said he personally avoids the talks though he is the team's highest-ranking executive in the racing operation. Earnhardt Jr. is signed to a typical driver contract, he said.
"Never mix business and family and when you do, you let the family handle it," he said.
Earnhardt has several times entertained the idea of driving the #3 Chevrolet made legendary by his late father [he has been quoted as saying he'd like to drive the #3 towards the end of his career], but that number is owned by Richard Childress Racing. Still, Gilmore thinks Earnhardt Jr. will remain at DEI. At least, he hopes so.
"It's tough to tell," he said. "You never know how things are going to happen, but you would think so, with the name on the building and the billboard."(St Petersburg Times
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