From Speedwaymedia.com – June 26,2007
By Joe Dunn / email@example.com
It’s been a big question since Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced that he was leaving DEI, will he take the #8 with him? The story got more fuel when Jr announced his deal with HMS, where he stated that he would like to keep the eight but didn’t know how much Teresa would want for it.
Again this past weekend Rick Hendrick announced that he would like to BUY the #8. This all sounds good, but is it really nothing more than a PR stunt? Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer went to heart of the matter when he talked to Ramsey Poston, spokesman for NASCAR. “NASCAR owns the numbers and licenses them to teams on an annual basis,” Poston said. “A team may allow another team to use the number for that year pending NASCAR’s approval.”
Now DEI knew along that Nascar does not allow selling of the number and so did HMS and Dale Jr., in fact almost anybody that has been around racing since before the death of Dale Earnhardt was aware of that. Of course Ricky Rackman the MTV guy that shows up on the pre-race shows didn’t, but then again he really knows nothing about NASCAR and proves it weekly.
So the big question is WHY all this smoke screen over the number? Simple, it’s all about money, lots and lots of money. Rick Hendrick, and Dale Jr stand to make a windfall on the sale of shirts, jackets, diecast and souvenirs with the change of the car number, color and sponsor. And what better way to boost those sales that to infuriate the Junior Nation into believing it is all Teresa’s fault. Show your spite for the wicked step mother and buy all these new Jr. items. Let her know that the fans are loyal to HIM and not her and DEI.
If Teresa really wanted to hurt Dale Jr, she would release the number and ask NASCAR to give it to HMS and then insist that Budweiser go with it. That small thing would cost Rick and Junior $Millions. But Teresa is a businesswoman, she will keep the 8, try to keep Budweiser by filling the car with a talented driver and keep her focus on DEI.
So in the end, the only one that will really be hurt by this whole number deal is the Junior fans who will be forced to shell out some pretty big $$$$ for all new Junior merchandise.