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Evernham to run remaining non-COT races with '06 Charger

INDIANAPOLIS -- Evernham Motorsports will run the remaining non-Car of Tomorrow races with the 2006 Dodge Charger and without technical director Eric Warren.

Warren was recently given a leave of absence after team owner Ray Evernham discovered critical changes regarding aerodynamics and simulation software were made to the 2007 car after an early-season test at Las Vegas.

He said those changes weren't reflected in the cars that were built moving forward, leading to less than stellar results on the track.

"So we basically have spent half a year trying to build a foundation that didn't exist," Evernham said on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The information that we had was nonexistent. We had to go back to doing things the normal way and put cars in the wind tunnel to find out there was a huge difference."

That is reflected in the points standings. Kasey Kahne, who won a series-high six races and made the championship chase a year ago, is 24th in points. Elliott Sadler is 23rd and Scott Riggs is 37th, having missed three of the last four races.

"In the end, when you have people that are responsible for performance and the performance is way off you have to make changes in those people," Evernham said. "Ultimately, the [changes] aerodynamically and simulation-wise were the responsibility of the engineering department and that was led by Eric Warren.

"Right now Eric is on leave until we decide if we're going to put him in another position or find a happy medium and let him go somewhere else," he said.

Evernham said he and competition director Sammy Johns have taken over Warren's duties.

He added that his move to the competition side has delayed finalizing his partnership with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett and a few sponsorship deals.

He expects the deal with Gillett to be complete within the next 14 days, at which point he also hopes to announce new sponsors for 2008. Among the sponsors interested in joining EMS is Budweiser, which would like Kahne to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. as its NASCAR spokesperson.

"Our sponsorship side of things is healthy," Evernham said. "We've got some pretty good options. The thing that has held up the Gillett deal the most and held up determining sponsors has simply been the time I have spent getting competition going.

"It is my opinion until the competition is fixed nothing else matters," he said.

Evernham hopes going back to the 2006 Dodge is the start of that.

"We are well into determining what our issues are and have a path for fixing them," he said. "I think you'll see an upward swing in our performance in that.

"I'm fairly confident that we are off the path that took us down the road that gave us wrong information," he said.

David Newton covers motorsports for ESPN.com.