Without sister Kelley, there is no JR Motorsports

January, 26, 2010
01/26/10
11:17
AM ET
Kelley Earnhardt is the general manager of JR Motorsports. In other words, she runs the place.

But she says her famous little brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., has to pull rank in the company every now and then.

Kelley gave a funny example last week during the annual NASCAR media tour.

"One day recently we were talking in my office and it got heated," Kelley said. "I used the F-word a couple of times, so [Dale Jr.] just turned around and walked out.

"I thought, 'Good. He's gone for the day. He won't be back.' Then about 15 minutes later he comes strolling back in my office and he's got a yellow slip of paper in his hand. He hands it to me.

"I said, 'What's this?'

"He said, 'It's from HR [Human Resources]. I had you written up. You said the F-word to the president of the company.'

"I looked at him and said, 'That was between brother and sister.'

"He said, 'Not here it's not.' Then he walked out again." Even now in their mid-30s, the Earnhardt siblings still have their territorial moments. But Kelley is the glue that holds everything together in her brother's growing empire.

While Junior is off racing his No. 88 Sprint Cup car for Hendrick Motorsports and handling the many duties that entails, Kelley runs the show for Junior's numerous other endeavors.

Kelley, 37, handles the day-to-day decisions of the Nationwide Series team (she was instrumental in bringing Danica Patrick to the program) along with making sure all of her brother's other businesses run properly.

Right now, Kelley's top priority is making sure Patrick is ready for her stock car debut, which comes in the ARCA race at Daytona on Feb. 6.

Is dealing with the hype around Patrick any different than dealing with her celebrity brother?

"Oh no," she said. 'It's totally the same. We definitely can handle that. We have that part figured out."

At least Patrick won't write her up for cussing at the boss.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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