Earnhardt interested in becoming minority owner of Panthers

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Sabates' group includes five businessmen, two of the team's existing minority owners and two race vehicle drivers, who Sabates declined to name.

Motorsports icon and two-time Daytona 500 winning driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his NBC debuts as a contributor for the network's coverage of SUPER BOWL LII on Sunday, February 4, and the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, beginning Thursday, February 8. But on Tuesday, Earnhardt told the Associated Press that he is not one of the two drivers Sabates was referring to.

"I did call Marcus (Smith) and I said, 'Hey, Marcus, if you guys get in the middle of it and you think it's a good business deal, I definitely have some interest.' But I am not one of the guys that Felix is talking about", Earnhardt told Fryer.

"(Felix) did not ask me to be involved", Earnhardt said. Smith and his father, Bruton Smith, both have expressed interest in the past in buying Charlotte's National Football League team if it ever was for sale, with Marcus saying in a 2016 interview that it would be, "such a neat opportunity and property for anybody to be able to shepherd into the future". Sabates said he is not in position to be the majority owner by a "long shot".

Current Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced in December he's selling the team. I wouldn't be a big player, and it wouldn't be an investment that would really create a big change in my life.

Voted by fans as NASCAR's Most Popular Driver for an unprecedented 15 consecutive years (2003-17), Earnhardt will make his first trip to the SUPER BOWL with NBC Sports, and participate in NBC's SUPER BOWL Pre-Game Show leading up to the big game. "That means a lot to me".

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