After almost two decades of being named for NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, the Class-A Kannapolis Intimidators will change their name in 2020.
The team, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, announced plans for a new name on Wednesday and asked the public for help in a one-week campaign which has been called “Branded by You” that runs though Feb. 13.
Earnhardt purchased a share of the team three months before his death in the 2001 Daytona 500. Years later Dale Earnhardt Inc. sold those shares of the team.
“We do recognize how much Dale means to this community,” Intimidators Assistant General Manager Vince Marcucci told NBC Sports. “Dale’s always going to be the Intimidator. We’re not trying to get away from (it). I don’t think that’s the right way to put it. But, like, own our own brand. Because we don’t own the Intimidators. (Earnhardt’s widow) Teresa has the rights to that. So for speed and flexibility as we try to do creative things in the future, we’re going to need something we own ourselves.”
Marcucci has not fully closed the door on a racing related nickname.
“If 80 percent of submissions are racing, it gives us a pretty good idea of keeping it tied to racing,” he said. “If only two percent of the names that are submitted are racing, maybe we do go away from something like that.
“We can look into the city’s past and future for a different kind of name.”