Two part replying here, first, I agree, it really is a shame how the games turned out, they could of been really great games, but they just kept messing stuff up with every game, they were taking one step forward then 100 step backwards with every game, for me, one of the biggest issues was the A.I. , they just could never get it right, just one of the many issues. The other big complaint from the NTG forums was the lack of stats and in-depth career mode, it was a one and done and you started all over. I cant comment on the online part as I never bothered, but I remember hearing how utterly bad online was, to the point of unplayable.
Now the second part, you are right to a point on the hush hush part, this all started taking place late 2013 , Eutechnyx shut down the dedicated NASCAR The Game Forum sometime late 2013, I think Nov/Dec, and moved part of it over to their main Eutechnyx games forum, and before that got shut down in early 2014, we got a heads up there that DMI was taking over and the link was posted to DMI . Now, that is what you could of been talking about, from the first game tell sometime in 2013, we were always getting updates on the forums from either ICE( dont remember his legal name) or a few other Eutechnyx employees that posted about the games and updates. Then it all stopped, Eutechnyx pretty much stopped posting on the forum and it was just the mods. We all know something was going on, so that could of been the time when the DMI deal was being worked out and the hush hush part.
Do me a favor, take some of that with a grain of salt, I have cant remember stuff, so my time line could be a little off.