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Earnhardt Jr. Wants Majority Ownership of Dad's Company

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Friday, February 9, 2007

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants more than a piece of his father's company. He wants his stepmother to give him majority ownership, a negotiating demand that might force him to part ways with Dale Earnhardt Inc. after this season.

His DEI contract is up at the end of the year, and negotiations have been tense since Teresa Earnhardt seemingly questioned his commitment to the team in a December interview.

"The main factor is the ownership part," Earnhardt Jr. said yesterday at NASCAR's annual preseason media day at Daytona International Speedway. "It has nothing to do with money and nothing else really. . . . My father has been gone for five, six years now. I want majority ownership. That's basically it."

Earnhardt said he was unsure whether his stepmother would be willing to give up ownership.

But he seems determined to try.

If NASCAR's most popular driver were to leave DEI, he would become the sport's most sought-after free agent. Most people believe Earnhardt only would part ways with DEI to drive for team owner Richard Childress, who fielded cars for the elder Earnhardt during six of his seven championship seasons.

· CYCLING: Floyd Landis will skip the Tour de France -- and all races in France this year -- as part of an agreement with French doping authorities in a case that could strip him of cycling's most prestigious title.

Last year's Tour champion had hip-replacement surgery 4 1/2 months ago and was unlikely to have competed in this year's Tour. He agreed not to race again in France until 2008, and in return the French anti-doping agency postponed its decision on whether to suspend him from competing in France for a maximum of two years because of a positive doping test.

· BASEBALL: Barry Bonds might get a telephone call from commissioner Bud Selig instead of a handshake if the San Francisco Giants slugger breaks Hank Aaron's home run record. Selig wouldn't say whether he would attend any Giants games if and when Bonds closes in on the mark. He needs 22 homers to break Aaron's record of 755. . . .

Albert Pujols has won an NL MVP award, a Gold Glove and a World Series. He added a perfect 100 on his U.S. citizenship test to his résumé this week. The Cardinals star, who was born in the Dominican Republic, became a U.S. citizen Wednesday during a ceremony at the Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis. . . .

Right-hander Bronson Arroyo and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract extension through 2010.

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