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Byline: David Newton
DARLINGTON, S.C. _ Ty Norris was in a room with several other high- ranking Dale Earnhardt Inc. officials discussing the pluses and minuses of the 2002 Winston Cup season when Teresa Earnhardt interrupted.
It wasn't the kind of "butt chewing" Norris had grown accustomed to from Teresa's late husband, Dale Earnhardt.
It was a subtle reminder that finishing 11th and 14th in the point totals, as two of DEI's three teams did last season, wasn't up to the standards Teresa and her seven-time Winston Cup champion husband were used to.
"She said, `How do I tell you guys you did a good job but your results stink?'" said Norris, the general manager of DEI. "That was her way of telling us we needed to pick up the pace.
"It was fun to hear it from her. It was nice to get a little kick in the rear from an Earnhardt again."
And the difference between a kick in the rear from Teresa and Dale?
"The high heels hurt more," Norris said with a laugh.
The heels always have hurt. Teresa Earnhardt just didn't have to use them often before Feb. 18, 2001, when her husband's life ended on a last-lap crash at Daytona Speedway.
In the time it took medical examiners at Daytona's Halifax Medical Center to pronounce Dale dead as the result of head injuries, Teresa went from partner in a multimillion dollar company to one of the more powerful women in NASCAR.
She went from a behind-the-scenes negotiator for Dale Earnhardt merchandising to the controller of four race teams _ three Winston Cup and one Busch Series - and all the …