You can probably tell by my blogskin that I am a Tony Stewart fan…plus I tend to discuss him a lot on here because he is
HOT! a great racer! But it goes without saying that I am not just a Tony fan…there are lots of other drivers I root for too. Probably right there next to Tony is Dale Earnhardt Jr (also HOT! a great racer!).
I have been following the whole Dale Jr leaving D.E.I. debacle with interest (I admit that my main interest and focus was that I was hoping he would join JGR to be Tony Stewart’s teammate…that would be my dream raceteam but I am definitely digressing). Some fans are pissed he is leaving D.E.I and some said they will follow him where ever he went (he ended up with Hendricks Motorsports). What cracks me up about that debate is that some people don’t realize that Dale Earnhardt was driving for Richard Childress not D.E.I at the height of his career.
Then there is the whole fight over the number 8. Most of the people who read my blog are NOT NASCAR FANS…so they probably don’t understand why a driver would want to fight over a silly number painted on the side of a loud, fast car. Well first off there is all the marketing already revolving around Dale Jr and the number 8. People doesn’t understand this but it isn’t just any old number 8. When they are talking about the number…they mean the number, the number style- including the font, the shading, the coloration- everthing. Weird huh? Unfortunately I can see both sides of this fight.
Dale wants #8 because…first off, it is familiar with his fan base. For most NASCAR/JR fans…DALE JR = 8. He has raced #8 since he was a rookie in the cup series. No to mention the book he and Jade Gurss wrote about his rookie year: Driver #8. More over, the number has familial legacy. His grandfather Ralph Earnhardt drove a number 8 as did his father for a time early in his career. And while Dale has made it very clear that he is not his father and does not race like his father…that he wants to be his “own person” in racing (something I COMPLETELY understand) I am sure that having that tie means a lot to him.
D.E.I wants #8 because…of the familial legacy. D.E.I. has been founded on the legacy left by Dale Earnhardt Senior and D.E.I is riding that legacy. Also- D.E.I. tried to bargain to retain some licensing control over merchandise….so they are also in it for the money. Plus I am sure that some of the retaining of the #8 has just a little bit to do with the fact that Dale choose to severe his relations with D.E.I. at the end of his contract.
I can total see Dale wanting to take something familiar with him- for his fans and himself. However I understand (do not read that as agree…because I do not necessarily agree) the D.E.I position as well.
What cracks me up the most? Is the TEAMS do not own the numbers- NASCAR does. And technically- NASCAR could jump in and say “HEY – the number goes with Dale Jr” however I know that they will not do such a thing. It isn’t in the best interest of NASCAR.
Personally…I am excited to see what Dale Jr comes up with for next year. I have a feeling that he will come up with something great. And for those who have #8 inked…just think of the cool tat addition you could get if he ends up with something like #81 or #83. Should we start a friendly pool? What the number will be? Who the sponsor will be??