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Then Menard said he was leaving and taking sponsorship from his father's hardware store with him to Yates Racing.
It left DEI with sponsorship next year only for Truex, who recently signed a one-year extension through 2009. DEI has been committed to Almirola, but there's no indication Smith is part of long-term plans.
Ganassi has half of next season sponsored by Wrigley's for Montoya, and full sponsorship from Target on his No. 41 car. That's the only car inside the top 35 with full funding that has an open seat.
"Having a partner like Chip who is heavily involved on the competition side of the business is an ideal situation for DEI," Teresa Earnhardt said in a statement. "He has a long history of managing championship teams in the IndyCar and Rolex Grand-Am Series, and I share his passion and goals of winning races and ultimately championships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"I think this is a case where we are stronger together than we are apart."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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