Richard Childress Racing may be close to bringing Dale Jr’s famed #8 back to the NASCAR Cup Series.
Daniel Hemric was announced as Ryan Newman’s replacement in the #31 for 2019 on Friday. This weekend at the Roval Hemric is making his second career NASCAR Cup Series start in the #8 car, a third entry from the RCR stable.
According to Dale Jr. RCR has talked to him about renumbering the #31 in 2019 to the #8. Dale said during the Cup Series Qualifying broadcast that he was excited about the possibility of seeing the #8 back on track again. Childress brought the #3 back to NASCAR for his grandson Austin Dillon to run, now he’s looking to bring Dale Jr’s number back as well.
Fans will be incensed by the idea that someone else will race Dale Jr’s number. Here’s the thing, a number of people have raced the #8 in the Cup series. Jeff Burton, Sterling Marlin, Aric Almirola, Mark Martin, Hut Stricklin, Dick Trickle, Ed Negre, some guy named Possum Jones drove it. It’s not a sacred number it’s a number that fans romanticize with one driver and that’s fair.
Before this season at the spring Richmond race, the #8 had not been on track since the spring Texas race in 2009. Following Dale Jr’s switch to the #88 and DEI’s downfall, the number faded off into bolivian. Now Hemric and RCR want to bring it back and that should be welcomed by the sport. There is an entire generation of fans that only know of Dale Jr. in the #8. Those of us that were around for the #8 days will always think of them fondly. Dale Jr. the kid with the bleach blonde hair drinking Bud heavys in victory lane will always be cool.
One thing RCR does need to do however is fix the styling of the #8 because the one they are currently running on Hemric’s car is vomit inducing. They can’t take it back to the DEI #8 because you know who won’t let them but something needs to be done. Ralph Earnhardt isn’t wheeling this thing anymore.
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