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Press Snoop: A new chapter.


DALE EARNHARDT Jr held his second press conference in a month at JR Motorsports Wednesday in Mooresville. A month ago, he announced he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc at the end of the season; this time, he announced he was joining Hendrick Motorsport.

Team Owner, RICK HENDRICK, already has four drivers under multi-year contracts - current NASCAR Nextel Cup points leader JEFF GORDON; reigning Cup champion JIMMIE JOHNSON; KYLE BUSCH and CASEY MEARS. Earnhardt Jr is 14th in points, but Busch will be released from his contract at the end of the season. Both Busch and Earnhardt intend to finish the season with their current teams.

Hendrick's relationship with the Earnhardt family goes way back to the old days with DALE EARNHARDT Sr - since 'Dale was a puppy' said Hendrick. Earnhardt Jr said "This relationship had a big factor in making my decision." He said that Hendrick was one person that he went to for advice before and after making his decision to leave DEI.

Hendrick Motorsport has been dominant this season, winning ten of 14 races. It has six prior Cup championships. Earnhardt Jr has won 17 Cup races in his seven-and-a-half years in the series, including the 2004 Daytona 500. He has won NASCAR's 'Most Popular Driver' award for the past four years.

The Hendrick/Earnhardt contract is for five years. Earnhardt Jr said "I always liked three-year deals, but I feel comfortable with this five-year deal. It's a great amount of time, the right amount of time for me. We have not talked about how we're going to leave the end of it. We haven't really talked about after five."

Junior said he "never struggled with the decision after it was made. It was solid and I was pretty confident about it. The hard part was the month of limbo, not having a place to go. This is uncharted territory for me. A huge risk, took a lot of nerve on my part, to get out in the real world and work for someone and straighten up a bit."

Earnhardt admitted for a long time he never had to worry about a job and could do and say what he wanted. "Now I may not be able to wear jeans and T-shirt quite as often. But the fans will still have the same Dale to cheer for.

"I just wanted to pay my bills. Everything else is a bonus. I want to work really hard this season to win the championship. If I don't win, I'll try hard to win the championship with Rick. I will cherish a championship when that trophy is on my mantle. I really do want it."

Junior hedged about when he made his decision. He said he "visited all the shops, they all had ability to build good cars and have all those secret things behind the doors, and the talent to win championship. That was a surreal experience in visiting all those shops. I met a lot of great people, and there are a lot more good people in the sport than I had given credit for. I have friends throughout the garage. It was great having crew guys come up to me saying they'd want me to drive with them."



Related Pictures

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NASCAR Nextel Cup Series #8 Budweiser Chevrolet driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL-2/20/05 ©Dorsey Patrick
10-20 February, Daytona International Speedway, Florida, USA, 2005Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson race down out of turn four,World Copyright©Robt.LeSieur 2005 USA
Kyle Busch - CarQuest/Kellogg`s Chevrolet   [pic credit: GM media]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 11, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Hendrick Motorsports driver Johnson experienced an issue during qualifying.  He will go to a back-up car. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 6, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with his wife, Chandra and daughters Genevieve and Lydia Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, crosses the finish line for the victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS drives to victory Thursday, February 18, 2016 winning the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Can-Am Duel races at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. This is Earnhardt Jr.`s second consecutive Duel victory. He will start on the inside of Row 2 for Sunday`s Daytona 500 race. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, poses in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Can-Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Can-Am Duels at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Can-Am Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, rookie driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS captures the pole Sunday, February 14, 2016 during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Elliott, who takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon, is the youngest driver ever to win the pole. He will lead the pack at the start of the February 21 race. (Photo by HHP/ Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Taxslayer.com Chevrolet, signs autographs for fans during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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