Dale Earnhardt Inc. merged its NASCAR operations with those of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in November 2008 to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Dale Earnhardt Racing, or Dale Earnhardt Inc., was established by Dale and Teresa Earnhardt in 1980. The humble little company has certainly grown over the years, but in 1983, Teresa was the first employee and the offices were a three-bay garage. Teresa supported Dale in all his racing ventures and all the general work that needed to be done. As the company grew, the need for more space was apparent, as they needed room for race cars and equipment. Dale and Teresa moved the company into a brick house right next to Coddle Creek Highway. They now had five offices and a few employees. Dale Earnhardt Inc also used to be the part time Busch Series team for Dale Earnhardt.
The team was extremely successful. Together they won 21 races, were placed in the top five 65 times, and were in the top 10, in 76 races. Dale Earnhardt Racing was actually just a part time job at Dale Earnhardt Inc. The company actually concentrated on merchandise and sponsorship sales, which enabled Dale Earnhardt Inc to become leaders in this field, in the fast growing popularity of racing. Some of the big sponsorships that were sold at the little office next to the Coddle Creek Highway, are still a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. today.
Dale and Teresa Earnhardt started fielding a full time Busch Series team, and later in 1995, the took on a Craftsman Truck Series team as well. With the company going through another growth period, the little brick house became insufficient, and another building was added to accommodate them. During the second season, Dale Earnhardt Inc. was given the NASCAR Championship by NAPA and Ron Hornaday, and received the honor again in 1998. Steve Park was recruited in 1997 to take over as driver of the Busch ride for the 1997 season, with ACDelco sponsoring him. And he did not disappoint. Park went on to win three races, Rookie of the Year and took third place in regard to points accumulated.
In June 1999, Dale and Teresa opened the new Dale Earnhardt Inc headquarters, complete with showroom, administration offices, retail store, a Trophy room, and the new home to the 1 Pennzoil team. When Steve Parks decided to move on, Dale Earnhardt, already had a replacement in mind, namely Dale Earnhardt Jr. For the fourth time, they needed space, yet again. The little old brick house along the Coddle Creek Highway was torn down for the construction of a new building, and the home to Dale Earnhardt Jr and his Budweiser team.
The growth of Dale Earnhardt Inc, has made it one of the premier NASCAR racing teams. And with all its success, it has not forgotten it’s humble beginnings. The company is often involved in charitable work and functions that can improve the lives of many children, help conserve nature, and assisting in education and general wildlife preservation.
Donny Schatz has been racing since he was only a kid. His dream of becoming an auto racing champion started when he was just fifteen years old and he has never looked back. During the past ten years of his life he has been racing almost 100 nights a year on two different continents – a clear indication of just how dedicated he is.
So it comes as little surprise then that Donny Schatz was chosen to receive the prestigious Dakota Award for 2008. The award, which is handed out by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, gives due recognition to any person from North Dakota who is excelling in other states. Schatz has long been proving himself in the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws (WoO) Sprint Series and it seems he is driven to succeed. Schatz remarked that receiving the award was a “great honor” and said he was happy that he could represent his home state on a national level. He added: “Like a lot of things that happened as a result of our efforts last year, this award is truly a family awardâ€¦We worked together as a family to build a race team that could compete with the best in the world and ultimately came away with consecutive World of Outlaws championships.”
The last time that Schatz received the Dakota Award was in 1998. He was chosen for the honor after a successful WoO Sprint Series Rookie of the Year campaign. It’s been ten challenging years since then and a lot has changed. He is certainly no longer a rookie and these days he’s winning back-to-back championships. Just last year he made history when he became the first driver to win the Knoxville Nationals, Williams Grove National Open, Kings Royal, Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup and the Williams Grove Summer Nationals all in the same year. That was the second time in a row that he took the checkered flag at the Outlaw championship, the Knoxville Nationals and the Silver Cup. Schatz was invited to drive for Tony Stewart in the WoO Sprint Series this year and he has been hard at work wracking up points in his new car already, with 10 victories in place after driving 27 races so far this year. Clearly this 30-year-old still has a long and successful driving career ahead of him and we may yet see another Dakota Award go to Donny Schatz in the future.