With merger in place, Ganassi to become part of Chevy, ECR engine program

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Plans are in place for Chip Ganassi Racing to switch from Dodge to Chevrolet and be a part of the engine program currently used by Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Richard Childress Racing.

DEI, a Chevrolet-based organization, announced on Wednesday it is merging into a four-car team with the Dodge organization of Chip Ganassi Racing in 2009.

Officials from both sides said no decision has been made on whether they would be under the Chevrolet or Dodge umbrella.

Richard Childress, the owner of RCR and co-owner of the Earnhardt Childress Racing [ECR] engine program, said a meeting is scheduled for Tuesday to hopefully finalize plans to bring Ganassi Racing into the ECR program.

Asked if the new Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing would have to be Chevrolet to be a part of that program, he said, "I would think so."

"ECR will still be around," Childress said.

Childress was glad to see the merger between DEI and Ganassi, saying, "It'll make them stronger for sure. If it's put together and works like ECR, it will be great. ECR has worked beyond all of our expectations."

Childress didn't rule out the possibility of employees from Ganassi's engine program joining ECR.

"I know he's [Ganassi] wanting to keep his engine shop going," he said. "We haven't decided everything yet."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.