Earnhardt Jr. not interested in buying father's racing team

JOLIET, Ill. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted at least 51 percent of Dale Earnhardt Inc. last season before he opted for a fresh start at Hendrick Motorsports.

If the company were up for sale now?

"I don't mean this in a bad way, but I would not have any interest in purchasing it," Earnhardt said following Thursday's first practice at Chicagoland Speedway. "I would not have any interest in purchasing any race team, just to have the ownership."

The subject was broached because of an Internet report earlier in the week that claimed DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt had commissioned the investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co. to locate a buyer or financial partner.

DEI president Max Siegel refuted the report, saying the company is not for sale.

Earnhardt first learned of the report while chatting online with former DEI teammate Martin Truex Jr.

"I didn't know what the hell he was talking about," he said. "Where's it coming from? You tell me."

Earnhardt said if there was a good time to sell it might be now.

"I didn't ever feel like she would be interested in selling the company," he said of his stepmother, Teresa. "I don't think that is in Teresa's character to give that company up. She feels that strong about it. She felt that strong about it a couple of years ago.

"But maybe she sees the trend and some of the other things that are happening with other owners. Maybe she's changed her mind."

DEI appeals

DEI is appealing the penalty handed to the No. 1 team of Martin Truex Jr. for a violation discovered during pre-qualifying inspection last weekend in Daytona.

Truex was fined 150 championship points, taking him from 14th to 18th in the standings, after NASCAR ruled his car was 1/16th of an inch too narrow. Crew chief Kevin Manion and car chief Gary Putman were suspended for six weeks, meaning both can work this weekend at Chicagoland.

Manion also was fined $100,000.

Reutimann staying put

David Reutimann disputed a report he was leaving Michael Waltrip Racing after the season to drive the No. 45 car at Petty Enterprises.

Reutimann acknowledged MWR has an option on him for next season.

"I feel like I will be back," he said. "I'm just trying to keep from getting my head kicked in every week."

Petty Enterprise officials said there have been no discussions with Reutimann about replacing Kyle Petty.

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