One of the last moves that Dale Earnhardt Sr. made as the owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) was to hire Michael Waltrip in October 2000. At the time it seemed laughable: Waltrip hadn't won in 462 starts. Yet Waltrip rewarded Earnhardt's faith in him by winning the Daytona 500 in 2001 (the race in which Earnhardt was killed) and '03. This year, however, has been a rough one for Waltrip, 41, who, even after finishing sixth on Sunday, was 20th in the point standings. That kind of performance doesn't sit well with fellow DEI driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left, with Waltrip).
"Michael would probably want to finish his career at DEI, but the chances of that happening I wouldn't say are 100 percent right now," says Dale Jr., who appears in several buddy-buddy commercials with Waltrip. "I don't make the decision. All I can do is speculate, just like everybody else."
The decision on Waltrip's future will ultimately be made by DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, who has not commented on the driver's status. But by the way Junior's talking, Waltrip might want to start dusting off his r�sum�.