Junior Reunion

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For DEI, 2006 starts this weekend in New Hampshire.

The team confirmed Wednesday that Tony Eury, Jr. will move back to the Budweiser Chevrolet as crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. this weekend in Loudon, New Hampshire.

"This is the best plan for us as a company," Eury Jr. said. "We haven't been in the same pit box this year, but we've been working closely as a team. Looking at where we want to be for 2006, it made sense to switch now and get that much further ahead."

Eury took over the crew chief duties Michael Waltrip's NAPA Chevrolet in 2005 after an off-season swap of personnel between DEI's No. 8 and No. 15 teams.

Waltrip, who will be leaving DEI at the end of the season, had asked the team for a guarantee that Eury, Jr. would be his crew chief in 2006. When that did not happen, Waltrip announced his intentions to move on.

Earnhardt, Jr. hinted at a possible change last week in Richmond when asked about the team's plans to begin prepping for 2006.

"If me and Tony Jr. are going to work together next year, that'd be a good idea to begin work on that relationship," he said. "With the few races left, use it to kind of work on... (the 8 and 15 teams) they've been working a lot together the last couple of weeks as far as set-ups and stuff, and moving some of their stuff over to my car. But it's not the whole thing. It'd be good to get on track with (Tony) Jr. if that's what we're gonna do next year."

"After evaluating our programs for next season, we went back and looked at all the resources at our disposal," said DEI VP Richie Gilmore. "By putting Tony Jr. back with Dale Jr. now, it enables us to start working toward our goals for next season.

"Those two can start finding their rhythm for next year, while Steve Hmiel can return his full focus on the technical aspect of our programs."

Hmiel, who has been the interim crew chief for the No. 8 team since May, will return to his position as DEI's technical director.

Tony Gibson, car chief for the No. 15 team, will serve as the team's crew chief for the remainder of this season.

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