Hendrick won't make room to take in Earnhardt

By Times Wires
Published May 20, 2007

CONCORD, N.C. - Cross Hendrick Motorsports off the list of teams interested in signing Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Although he has spoken to Earnhardt, car owner Rick Hendrick said Saturday that "there's no room at the inn" for NASCAR's most popular driver.

Earnhardt is leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc., his late father's company, at the end of the season. He wants to stay with one of the top Chevrolet teams so he can contend for championships, and Hendrick is the best in NASCAR now with eight wins in the past nine Nextel Cup races.

Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing are the next best Chevy teams, and both owners have indicated they are interested in speaking with Earnhardt.

Hendrick fields Cup cars for four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Casey Mears. All are under contract through at least 2008.

Burton logo changed

It didn't take long for Richard Childress Racing to slap AT&T logos on Jeff Burton's car.

Hours after a federal judge again refused NASCAR's request for a stay, the team had a large AT&T logo on the front and side of the No. 31 car in the garage before the Nextel All-Star Challenge. The team's pit crew members sported AT&T logos on the front and back of their firesuits as well.

"I'm really happy for AT&T that we're able to rebrand our car to AT&T and get back to really trying to win this championship, " Childress said. "We're really excited about the new look for the car."

U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob in Atlanta issued a preliminary injunction Friday barring NASCAR from stopping AT&T from placing its logo on the car. NASCAR filed an emergency appeal, but Shoob again denied NASCAR's request Saturday. NASCAR then went to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which refused to grant a stay.

NASCAR says its deal with Sprint Nextel to sponsor the top racing series prevents AT&T from sponsoring a race team.