The news was just announced that indeed the recently rumored merger between Dale Earnhardt Inc and Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing is official. I can't help but wonder what Dale Earnhardt is thinking as he looks down from Pearly Gates.
Mergers seem to be the latest fad in the Nascar community. With sponsors disappearing from the sport, it is becoming tougher for what used to be top flight teams to stay afloat in the sport. Neither DEI nor Ganassi have any wins in 2008, in the Cup series. In an era where companies everywhere are laying off employees, Nascar is no different. It's been reported, though not confirmed as of this writing, that DEI has laid off 110 employees today. Other teams have been laying off employees lately as well. I pray that all these talented people find other jobs within the industry soon, though that would appear to be unlikely at this point.
DEI has always used Chevrolet products. Ganassi has used only Dodge products in his 8 year history in Cup. Felix Sabates has used a variety of makes, but he is a minority owner now by far, I would guess. Felix for many years used Pontiacs and Chevrolets, so he does have a past relationship with General Motors.
Details about the merger are sketchy as of now. It is known that Martin Truex Jr. will remain in the 1 car, and that Juan Pablo Montoya will remain in the 42 car. Aric Almirola will drive the 8 car next year. Supposedly a 4th car will be announced, supposing the combined company can find sponsorship and a suitable driver. Regan Smith maybe? Kyle Petty on a part time basis? No one knows right now.
One has to wonder if eventually Nascar cup teams will end up as Hendrick, Gibbs, Rousch, Stewart-Haas, and DEI-Ganassi-Bill Davis-McClure-Petty-Hall of Fame-Yates-Front Row-Gillet-Evernham-Wood Brothers Racing. With Felix Sabates, of course. Will we soon be racing only 20 cars in Cup? I sincerely hope not. Loss of sponsorship has already dealt the Nationwide series some serious blows over the past year. Some teams are folding and simply going away. I'm afraid that with the current economy woes, the same will begin to happen to Cup teams as well. McClure's team is still currently in limbo. The legendary Wood Brothers could be headed that way as well.
Events such as took place today make me worry about the future of my favorite sport. I have to admit that. ABC takes the race off the air in the Eastern and Central time zones in favor of 'America's Funniest Home Videos.' Is Nascar in possession of a product that's dieing a slow death? Let's all hope not.