Earnhardt Teen Will Tackle Busch East and UARA by Mike Twist
DEI Signs Jeffrey Earnhardt to Long-Term Driving Contract
When it came to finding a new member of their team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. didn’t have to look too far.
Earnhardt will drive a second Andy Santerre Motorsports entry in the NASCAR Busch East Series (Top) and run part time on the UARA-STARS tour as well.  (Bottom)
In a move that had been rumored for several weeks, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series operation has announced that Jeffrey Earnhardt had been officially signed to a long-term driving contract.  The 17-year-old is the son of part-time NASCAR Nextel Cup/Truck Series driver and ARCA RE/MAX Series race winner Kerry Earnhardt and is grandson to the late Dale Earnhardt.

The young Earnhardt will hone his skills driving a second Andy Santerre Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch East Series this coming season.  He will benefit from the guidance of Santerre, a four-time BES champion who stepped into the role of a team owner prior to last season, and ASM teammate Sean Caisse, who won three BES races in 2006 on the way to finishing second in the series standings. 

Earnhardt will also compete in a limited schedule of UARA Stars Late Model events for the TAMCO Motorsports team owned by Tam Topham, who has four career starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as a driver.  In 2006, Topham fielded a Late Model Stock Car at Motor Mile Speedway (VA) Richard Childress Racing development driver Allison Duncan and a Limited Sportsman at the same track for Earnhardt.

Earnhardt got his start driving racecars in 2004, running a four-cylinder “Hornet” at Wythe Speedway (VA).  He scored two victories in that division during the 2005 season before moving into the Limited Sportsman class at Motor Mile last season.  He finished seventh in points in that division.

"In his young career to date, Jeffrey has displayed many of the attributes we are looking for in a driver," DEI team owner Teresa Earnhardt said. "Experience will be key to developing and preparing Jeffrey to progress to and compete at higher levels."

"Signing with DEI is a dream come true," Earnhardt said. "To progress as a driver at the premier organization that Dale and Teresa built means a lot to me. I know I'll be surrounded with the right equipment to take me to the next level, so now it's up to me to prove myself."

Signing the young driver could also help to ensure that the DEI organization will have an Earnhardt driving for the team in the long-run.  NASCAR Nextel Cup Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has recently been in the midst of well-publicized contract renegotiation talks with the team.  His current contract with the team expires at the end of the 2007 season.