It’s also more than a little suspicious to his legion of fans, who have wondered for weeks if this was sabotage on the part of his stepmother.
After all, his relationship with Teresa Earnhardt “ain’t a bed of roses,” and Junior’s impending split isn’t exactly amicable. They’ve publicly feuded since December, he claims she’s been unreasonable during negotiations and he’s bolting for rival Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season.
The squabbling has been so intense on so many issues — most recently Teresa’s refusal to let Earnhardt take his beloved No. 8 with him to Hendrick — that the idea that she would intentionally derail his season wouldn’t surprise anyone. And because the DEI motors never even seem to sputter under the hoods of his teammates, it’s actually believable.