Posted Jul 31, 2007 in Sport.
Now that Dale Earnhardt Incorporated has merged with Bobby Ginn's team, the company has a good enough reason to release the number 8. NASCAR rules forbid owners from running more than 4 teams. With the availability of the number 14, DEI can have the 01, 1, 14 and 15 - a nice alignment of numbers.
One reason to keep the 8 would be for owner points. Due to a quirky arrangement whereby the 15 is actually the 14, DEI has four cars in the top 35 of owner points, guaranteeing spots in races. Freeing the 8 would reduce that number to three.
But freeing the 8 is the right thing to do. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has raced with that number for his entire Winston/NEXTEL Cup career. Since NASCAR hit the big time, the 8 has been Dale's number. It makes sense for NASCAR to broker a deal between Theresa Earnhardt and Rick Hendrick to let Junior keep his number.