Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has always rest assured that he had family members helping direct his career on the race track. Next season, that will all change for the 30-year-old North Carolina native.
Earnhardt's former crew chief, Tony Eury, Sr. has been promoted to Director of Competition at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Racing. Pete Rondeau has been appointed to the helm of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet team.
"I tried to hold it off a couple of times, but we felt that this time was the right time," said Earnhardt. "I was all for doing some things; we had 100 different scenarios we could have played out. I didn't want to end up looking like a jackass in the whole deal."
Tony Eury, Jr. who served as the car chief on the No. 8 car will take over crew chief responsibilities for the No. 15 Chevy of Michael Waltrip.
"I wasn't in there smashing all the buttons, but I had input," said Earnhardt of the change. "I might have let a lot of people down, but it was miserable a lot of the time between the good times."
In addition, the crews of the No. 8 and the No. 15 will essentially swap under the new promotions. Earnhardt will essentially be driving the 15 cars of Waltrip and vice versa, making the start of the 2005 season a huge learning curve for Earnhardt.
"I will be ready for that," Earnhardt said. "We were still under a learning curve with Tony and them; we were still struggling at race tracks that we needed to run better at."
Earnhardt won two Busch championships with the Eury's and 15 Cup series wins.
Deemed the favorite to win the inaugural Chase for the Championship, Earnhardt led the Chase just once after New Hampshire. A 25-point penalty for use of foul language after his win at Talladega dropped him to third. The team was plagued by inconsistent finishes that finally saw them finish fifth overall.