Evernham joins forces with NHL owner

Ray Evernham has joined forces with National Hockey League owner George N. Gillett, Jr., adding to the recent mergers by the NASCAR teams. Evernham Motorsports will now be known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) with Evernham holding the ...

Ray Evernham has joined forces with National Hockey League owner George N. Gillett, Jr., adding to the recent mergers by the NASCAR teams. Evernham Motorsports will now be known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) with Evernham holding the operational cards as the Chief Executive Officer.

"It's very exciting for me to deliver to sponsors and fans the opportunity to align with a worldwide sports leader," said Evernham, CEO of GEM. "With the business acumen of the Gillett family and its sports brands, we've greatly expanded our reach."

Just recently, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. merged with Ginn Racing but will remain DEI on the entry list. Earlier this year, Roush Racing became Roush Fenway Racing. Is this new trend going to continue and will we see the already strong teams in the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series become stronger, leaving out in the cold the smaller owned teams such as Bobby Hamilton Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, etal. Or are the ones who have formed partnerships just looking toward the future and the continuing on-track battle for supremacy against the likes of Hendrick Motorsport, Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing? The two Chevrolet teams do seem to have the edge in the points.

Gillett brings a taste of Canada to the series as the owner of the legendary Montreal Canadiens. However, Gillett is an American who has shown his ability of the "magic touch" in all his business dealings -- from the sport center to the entertainment aspect. The Wisconsin native has built his own fortune in North America in the world of sports and now has to his long list of corporate businesses a new adventure: stockcar racing.

"Racing is in my blood," said Gillett. "It's not often you get to partner with a leader with Ray's reputation, talent and championship legacy."

The partnership announcement came two days after NASCAR held their first race north of the border with the Busch series and their newly-acquired Canadian series. The event took place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Evernham was the driving force for Dodge's return to NASCAR in 2001 with driver Bill Elliott. He commented on why this merger was important to him and his team: "This will allow me to focus on our racing operations and team performance, while the Gillett family will focus on our business operations. It certainly allows us to capitalize on our strengths and position GEM for long-term success both on and off the track."

Evernham's success goes back to the days before he formed his own team, a fact that some remember while others forget. As Jeff Gordon's crew chief, he has three Cup championships. And he snatched Erin Crocker underneath the nose of Ford, giving her a chance to contest the ARCA RE/MAX Series as the first female in any NASCAR driver development program. Crocker is the only woman to compete in the Craftsman Truck series' full-season.

Word on the steets of Las Vegas came the news that Patrick Carpentier will be racing for GEM at The Glen this coming weekend. "We look forward to having Patrick Carpentier behind the wheel of the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen," said Valvoline Evernham entry team owner Jim Rocco.

"Carpentier turned a lot of heads with his strong run in Montreal last weekend. This Valvoline Evernham Racing team is focused on doing everything we can to make races, and we have made twelve so far while outside the top 35," he added. "As part of those efforts, we believe that Patrick can place Valvoline Evernham Racing in a good position leaving Watkins Glen in order to help Scott Riggs make a run to the top 35 in points by the end of the season."

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About this article
Series Automotive , NASCAR
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Michael Waltrip , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Riggs , Ray Evernham , Erin Crocker
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Roush Fenway Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing