Team Preview: DEI

It will be a new era for DEI beginning this season as the team sees what life without Junior is all about.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s departure to Hendrick Motorsports has shuffled the deck at DEI, which begins its first full season in 2008 after last year's merger with Ginn Racing.

Veteran Mark Martin takes over the No. 8 ride with Martin Truex, Jr., Paul Menard and rookie Regan Smith rounding out the four-car stable.

"We are all about winning and continuing the legacy that our founder started many years ago," said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. "We've taken some pretty big steps to improve our team over the winter like merging our engine department with Richard Childress Racing."

Truex Jr. comes back in the Bass Pro Shops No. 1 Chevrolet anxious to take another step forward in his career and to tackle the challenge of being the team’s lead driver.

"I think it's going to be an exciting time for me and my team to kind of get some more of the spotlight, a little more credit, a little more focus, and attention. I don't think a lot is going to change for me, I'm going to go out and do my job the best I can do every week, just like I do now, just like I've always done, so I don't think a lot of that will change.”

Martin slides over to the famed No. 8, which will carry the U.S. Army colors for the entire season. He will again compete in a limited schedule of 22-26 races while tutoring young Aric Armirola, the former Joe Gibbs Racing protégé, who will pilot the car the rest of the way.

"I admire Teresa Earnhardt a great deal for the direction she's taken DEI and the staff of employees she has in place," Martin said. "It's really an honor and a privilege for me to drive for this team. I used to race against Dale Sr. when he was driving the No. 8 car and I can tell you right now that he taught me a lot of things out there on the track. He showed me how to get things done."

"I can't wait to get the 2008 season started. The way things work here at DEI really isn't a whole lot different than what it was like with any of the other teams I've driven for in the past. Every team tries to build as good a car as they possibly can or I wouldn't have been with them."

Menard comes back to the No. 15 ride while young Regan Smith runs the team's No. 01 Chevy, rounding out the four car stable.

"The No. 15 Menards Chevrolet is getting faster," said Menard after the recent Preseason Thunder test at California Speedway. "We are going through a checklist of things that we want to try to see how they do. We race on 1.5-mile and two-mile ovals for most of the season, so we want to see what works and try to be as consistent as we can. There are a lot of things you can do with the new cars and I think we've learned a lot."

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