CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bobby Ginn had grand plans to build a contender when he bought a NASCAR team last summer. But he learned rather quickly that winning takes a lot of money, and without solid sponsorships, it’s almost impossible to do.
Faced with scaling back his program to a noncompetitive level, Ginn instead merged his organization with Dale Earnhardt Inc. on Wednesday to form a four-car team that will debut this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“We absolutely would have survived without merging, but what we would have wound up doing is taken on lesser sponsors,” Ginn told The Associated Press in a Wednesday telephone interview.
“We would have had to continue to cut costs, and that is disgraceful to me. I am proud of the merger. I would not have been proud of putting a car out there that couldn’t compete.”
The new deal makes Ginn a partner at DEI, which had been owned outright by the late Dale Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa. She remains the majority owner under the merger.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will continue to drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for DEI for the remainder of the season, and Martin Truex Jr. remains in the No. 1 Chevy.
Paul Menard, who has struggled to make races this season in the No. 15 for DEI, will get the owner points from Ginn’s No. 14 entry. That car had been driven by Sterling Marlin, who had locked it into the field each week based on owner points. Now Menard is assured a spot in the field.
Ginn driver Mark Martin will now pilot the No. 01 Chevrolet for DEI and split seat time with Aric Almirola.