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Open Numbers for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2008
An Opinion

August 24, 2007
By Allen Madding

Allen Madding

With Hendrick Motorsports and DEI unable to work out a deal for the No. 8 for use with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s new team next year, the talk around America’s coffee makers and water coolers has turned to what number will be chosen for Dale Jr. in 2008.

Hendrick has the number 5, that will be vacated by Kyle Busch’s move to Joe Gibbs Racing but most doubt that it will be the final choice for Earnhardt. Of course Richard Childress Racing still holds the rights to the number 3, but Junior has made it clear that he would consider that late in his career, but not now.

Childress also has used the number 33 from time to time, which was made famous by NASCAR veteran Harry Gant and the legendary Skoal Bandit team originally fielded by Hal Needum and Burt Reynolds. Junior has waxed somewhat nostalgic from time to time, so there stands an opportunity, a possibility, as the number is not being actively used currently.

The number 13 is currently wide open. Who has the guts to run this number? It has been used infrequently over the years. Smokey Yunick used it a lot with the cars he fielded out of his Daytona shop and more recently Robby Gordon used the number and the last to use it was Joe Nemechek, before he was released at Ginn Racing.

Most drivers and teams are somewhat superstitious and would not touch the number for all the gold in the world. But it could serve to rattle a competitor to run into a corner two wide and look over and see the number 13 on the car next to them.

The numbers 23, and 27 are currently open. Rusty Wallace ran the No. 27 when he drove for BlueMax Racing -- way back in the day. Wallace has mounted quite a campaign to have Earnhardt Jr. to use his old number.

The number 28 is currently in mothballs as well. This was the number the late Davey Allison made famous with Robert Yates Racing and Havoline.

The numbers 08, 30, 32, 34, 35, 39, 46, 47, 49 through 54, 56 through 65, 67 through 69, 71 through 82, 85 through 87, 89 through 95, 97-98 are all wide open if Junior wanted to just pick something out that seems generic and create a whole new legacy.

Of course, if Junior were to desire another number currently in use by another team, Hendrick could attempt to negotiate for one of those numbers, such as the No. 88. (looks like Rudd won't need it)

With considerations for potential sponsor arrangements and marketing plans and with the fresh bad taste in their mouths from the negotiations with Teresa Earnhardt, it would be a safe bet that Junior and Hendrick management would probably prefer to steer clear spending anymore time wrangling over a number. It would be a safe bet with the expectations of the high profitability of the marketing campaign that will surround Junior and the Hendrick operation, any teams having a number that Junior might desire would surely want a high dollar figure for it much like Teresa wanted.

Everyone has a number that they would like to see Junior use in 2008. Here is hoping he chooses the number 13 or the 33.

Discuss this and other racing matters in the Prodigys@Speed Forum

You can contact Allen Madding at .. Insider Racing News

The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.

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