NASCAR: Junior sad that No. 8 isn’t racing
AVONDALE, Ariz. ó Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn’t blame his stepmother for keeping his beloved No. 8, even though the number won’t be used in tonight’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Earnhardt used the No. 8 for nine seasons at Dale Earnhardt Inc., but his stepmother would not let him take it with him when he left for Hendrick Motorsports following the 2007 season. Aric Almirola used the number this season, but his team was shuttered by Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing last week because of a lack of funding.
“I don’t have any malice about what Teresa’s decision was on keeping that number,” Earnhardt said on Friday. “If I had been in her shoes, I probably would have done the same thing. That has been the case with every other owner in the past, the understanding that the numbers ‘belong’ to them, and I understood that.”
The No. 8 has sentimental significance to the Earnhardt family. It was first used by Ralph Earnhardt, and his son, Dale, made his Cup Series debut with the number in the 1975 Coca-Cola 600. It was the late Dale Earnhardt’s only use of the No. 8 in his Cup career.
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