More Of The Same

The halls of DEI have been stripped of any memory of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

That's not surprising.

After all, Junior is no longer a member of the team and everyone knows about the messy divorce.

What is surprising is just how clueless DEI management seems to be in the aftermath.

During last week's annual media tour in Charlotte, journalists visited several team headquarters to hear owners, crew chiefs and drivers talk about the coming season.

After a formal presentation on stage, reporters were able to conduct individual sessions with each personality in a break out format.

That practice was in place at every stop except one.

You guessed it - DEI.

It's been the same practice pretty much every year DEI is on the tour and unfortunately it doesn't cast the team in a very good light.

The reclusive Teresa Earnhardt tried her best to show she actually cared about the media by mingling from table to table during the pre-presentation lunch portion of the program.

But all she had to offer was small talk about the menu.

There was no opportunity to talk with her or hear her comments about the team's new direction first-hand.

Unlike Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush, Michael Waltrip, Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, Kyle and Richard Petty or Joe Gibbs - all owners who met the media face-to-face on the tour - Earnhardt or global operations manager Max Siegel sat on the sidelines.

The situation continued the perception that Earnhardt isn't really involved much in the day-to-day operation of the team, an accusation aggressively denied by Siegel.

"Teresa's been dedicated and devoted to the racing organization," Siegel said. "There has been some miscommunication that's been out there, and we've tried to surround her with a management team that can give her some comfort that things are being addressed and the right information is being disseminated and we are moving forward.

"She has participated in this company, whether it's out in front of behind the scenes, and I fully expect her to continue to do so."

But whether Earnhardt isn't an absentee owner or not isn't really the issue.

It's the secrecy and elitist attitude that unfortunately seems to permeate the building whenever you walk into DEI.

Things have been that way for a long time.

You would have thought with a new driver line-up, new direction and new management team some of that would have changed.

But it hasn't, so far anyway.

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