Is Almirola Playing David to a Ganassi and Earnhardt Goliath?

Janelle JalbertCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2009

MOORESVILLE, NC - JANUARY 22:  Teresa Earnhardt speaks during a media event January 23, 2007 at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., in Mooresville, North Carolina. (Photo By Grant Halverson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Almirola filed papers last week in North Carolina Superior Court stating that he has a breach-of-contract dispute with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. according to a report from Scene Daily’s Bob Pockrass

Almirola recently announced that he has signed with Billy Ballew, driving the number 15, for the remaining Camping World Truck Series races in 2009 and appears to have gained the confidence needed to take on his former employer.

With the seat in the number one car, currently occupied by Martin Truex Jr., up for grabs in 2010, it would appear that Almirola was told that he was being passed over for the ride. Almirola raced for EGR in the number eight car, in seven Cup races this year before the car was parked.  EGR cited a lack of sponsorship for having to pull the number eight.

The filing stipulates that Almirola has 20 days to file a formal complaint with the court. In this case, Almirola filed two notices.  One is against EGR and DEI jointly.  The other notice names EGR and Teresa Earnhardt specifically.  Often with these types of filings, the petitioner hopes to reach a resolution before having to file a formal lawsuit. It is a way to test the legal waters regarding a complaint.

Almirola indicated that the rationale for his claim is breach of contract as well as unfair and deceptive trade practices.  Almirola and his attorney have until November 5th to file the actual complaint.

EGR representative, John Olguin, acknowledged Almirola’s action saying, “We’re disappointed at the situation with Aric but are hopeful that we will come to an agreement soon.”

The question now becomes, is Almirola cutting his own throat for future Cup and/or Nationwide opportunities?

Furthermore, has sentiment against Teresa Earnhardt (after the Dale Jr. negotiation drama that sent Junior to Hendrick) shifted to enough of a positive feeling that an attack on the Earnhardt name can be seen as a reason to circle the wagons?

If so, it leaves Almirola in the position of playing David to an Earnhardt-related Goliath.  If not, is this further indication of the demise of the Earnhardt mystique?