Earnhardt Big Topic In Darlington Garage

Dale Earnhardt Junior wasn't at Darlington Raceway on Thursday, but everybody was talking about him.

Earnhardt's plan to leave Dale Earnhardt Incorporated after this season fueled speculation and conversation among his fellow drivers during Busch Series practice.

Jeff Burton says when a driver says he's going to leave, it's only natural to wonder where he's going to go. Burton might be especially curious because Earnhardt could be his teammate at Richard Childress Racing, which was once his late father's home.

Earnhardt could follow in his father's racing shoes and land at Childress, perhaps even driving Dale Senior's famed Number Three. Earnhardt could start his own Nextel Cup team, taking sponsor Budweiser and his huge fan base with him. Or he could be engaging in gamesmanship, so D-E-I and stepmother Teresa Earnhardt might agree to Junior's wish to own 51 percent of his dad's company.