Sources say DEI, Ginn hope to have deal by Indianapolis race

Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing are working on a merger agreement that, if finalized, would meld the two NASCAR organizations into a single company, multiple sources close to negotiations told ESPN.com on Monday.

The deal is not done, but a decision will be made soon. Both organizations hope, sources said, to firm up outstanding details and announce a partnership immediately.

This deal is an elaborate proposition that entails several obstacles, including how best to reduce from six Nextel Cup teams to the maximum four. The obvious answer, sources said, would be to eliminate Ginn's financially-strapped Nos. 13 and 14 teams.

Ginn Racing CEO Jay Frye said Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway that he expects to have the company shored up by the next Nextel Cup race, set for July 29 in Indianapolis. There is no question, Frye said, that Ginn is avidly searching for the best possible way to make the team competitive for 2008, including more Nextel Cup seat time for Regan Smith in either the No. 13 or No. 14 Chevrolet.

Published reports Monday said Joe Gibbs Racing driver Aric Almirola would move to Ginn next season to split time in the No. 01 Chevrolet with Mark Martin.

Attempts made to contact both teams were unsuccessful.

Marty Smith covers Nextel Cup racing for ESPN.com.