Kannapolis Intimidators set for name change; Kelley Earnhardt Miller is ‘saddened’

Dale Earnhardt owned a piece of his hometown Kannapolis Intimidators and spawned the team name

In 2000, Dale Earnhardt bought a portion of what became the Kannapolis Intimidators. They are a Minor League Baseball team of the South Atlantic League.

They are a Chicago White Sox minor league team. In 2005, they won the league title. And their recent division title was claimed in 2017.

The team was a passion for the NASCAR driver who formed the nickname of ‘The Intimidator’ on the race track. Earnhardt was a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina.

In February 2001, Dale Earnhardt lost his life in a crash at Daytona International Speedway. For the 2001 season, the team became known as the Kannapolis Intimidators.

In the upcoming 2001 season, the team also requested the Razor Shines change from #3 to #43. The team officially retired number 3 on May 15, 2002.

The connection to racing doesn’t stop with the partial ownership by NASCAR’s most famous family. Sam Bass, a well-known racing artist was also the one who designed the team logo.

However, for 2019 the team will have a new name and logo. It was announced earlier this week.

Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium
Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium

Kelley Earnhardt comments on the Kannapolis Intimidators change

“My dad was a big baseball fan,” Kelley Earnhardt Miller stated on her new show ‘Beyond Racing’ via Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. “He was very proud of that relationship.”

“I really was just shocked and sad to see that coming to an end.”

“Their comments say that they need a name that they own. The ‘Intimidators’ trademark is owned by Teresa Earnhardt. My dad and Teresa trademarked that when my dad earned that nickname way back when. He started using it in public as his persona.”

The baseball team stated that they needed things to be handled quicker when it came to branding. A name that they own exclusively will give them speed and flexibility in that department.

Kannapolis Intimidators - Dale Earnhardt Race Car
Kannapolis Intimidators – Dale Earnhardt Race Car sits outside the Kannapolis stadium

Kannapolis Intimidators: Dale Earnhardt Inc

“My guess, and I’m really only guessing from the experience that I’ve had with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated is that there’s probably an approval process in place where they maybe still have to run things by the group there,” Miller continued.

DEI also owned the trademark to Dale Earnhardt Jr’s owned #8 font. Budweiser released a commercial during Dale Earnhardt Jr’s final season. That video featured various clips throughout Earnhardt’s career. However, the #8 had to be blurred as it was not cleared with DEI.

Related: The darker side to Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Budweiser commercial

It would be safe to assume the Kannapolis Intimidators faced similar issues.

“Maybe things aren’t happening as quick as they need to have them. They just want that flexibility to move forward with their name,” Kelley Earnhardt continued.

“That saddens me. My dad, this was his pride and joy. They also had some comments in there about the people of Kannapolis changing and maybe they’re not so much race fans anymore.”

“But, I’m pretty sure that a lot of the names I’ve seen come through so far are racing related. I don’t really know if that’s statements true or not about what’s going on.”

“I’m sure there’s some backstory that we don’t know about. We’ll see where it goes. But, there are a lot of folks that are quite upset about it.”

Kannapolis Intimidators - Baseball team
Kannapolis Intimidators – Baseball team
Kannapolis Intimidators announce name change

Andy Sandler is the new owner of the Baseball team.
The team will have a new stadium completed in 2020. That stadium will be called the Kannapolis Sports and Entertainment Venue as ground was already broken on October 30, 2018 .

They’re starting fresh all angles, including a brand aspect as well. The name and team logo will both change for the 2019 baseball season.

The announcement was made in a team release:

“We are excited to partner with the Kannapolis community in revitalizing the downtown anchored by the new Sports and Entertainment Venue,” said new Kannapolis Intimidators team owner Andy Sandler.

“Giving fans an even better game experience with a new team name, fresh logo and engaging mascot is a very important part of what is ahead for Kannapolis baseball and the city. We look forward to community participation in this exciting rebrand,” Sandler concluded.


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Dale Earnhardt Inc | NASCAR | Kannapolis Intimidators