What a meteoric journey for the 8 car. Big Dale puts Little Dale in a cool-looking cool-sponsored car with Ralph's number on the side. The kid wins races, the kid competes for championships, the kid almost single handedly orchestrates Nascar's rise in popularity and ratings. As a testimony to Big Dale's competitive fire, the teams remain competitive for some time after his death, until the momentum gives out. DEI's success in my opinion was a testimony to the balance of racing and business, a balance borne out in the relationship of Dale and Theresa and their individual talents. Maybe it was too much to expect they could continue without him--the shoes to fill were enormous.
The 8 car is no more, losing its marquee driver and its sponsor, and after a 1 1/2 season revolving door of drivers and sponsors, it's gone. A sad ending to a fantastic sports story of tragic Shakespearean dimensions.
Lets hope DEI doesn't follow the course of the 8 car, but the evidence doesn't look good. See Jay Hart's pointed column for another example of its demise.
Saving DEI is akin to saving GM. Tough medicine. Big changes. Better management. More money. Possible? Maybe. Likely? Nope.