Earnhardt, Jr. Joins Hendrick Motorsports - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Earnhardt, Jr. Joins Hendrick Motorsports

East Texas NASCAR fans are wondering if they should hold on to their number eight car stickers or throw them away. Racing superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will have a new team and possibly a new car.

Wednesday morning Earnhardt announced he would join Hendrick Motorsports in 2008.

"Hopefully I can give my fans what they expect and deserve and have a whole lot of fun along the way. So today, it is with great honor to introduce, my new boss for 2008, Mr. Rick Hendrick," Earnhardt said before unveiling the Hendrick's Motorsports logo behind him.

Junior's decision stirred up mixed feelings from NASCAR fans who have voted him the most popular driver for four years. Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt's new teammate, has been booed by fans and even had beer thrown at him on the track.

Hendrick Motorsports is being compared to the New York Yankees of the racing world. A team armed with heavy hitters and superstar winners but still not always a grand slam with the fans.
Now, Hendrick has added NASCAR's favorite son to his armory of stars. NASCAR.com's fan forum was buzzing with those for and against Dale's decision. Many posted comments wondering how Earnhardt aligned himself with Jeff Gordon.

East Texans were also talking.

"I'm very surprised, very excited," Eric Xirau said. "He's going to a team that's going to put him with the technology to win."

The folks at Peltier Chevrolet have a bit of a soft spot for Junior. The driver made it known that whatever team he went to, he wanted to continue to drive a Chevrolet.

"He's going to be the face of Hendrick Motorsports now," Matt Ferrell said. "Even with Jeff Gordon there. I think it will be a good move for him in the long run to try and chase a championship."

"I'm hoping he will get number eight," James Fitzgerald said. "I'm hoping Budweiser comes with him. But if I have to (buy) a number five or 25, I will. Whatever he drives."

When Dale, Jr. picked Hendrick Motorsports, he ended a two month bidding war to land him. Those in the running included Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs stressed he wanted Junior as a driver, just not his Budweiser sponsor promoting alcohol use.

KLTV 7 NASCAR insider and Joe Gibbs Racing pit crew member C.J. Fambrough said Gibbs does not force his morals on his driver's, it is just his way of life. He also said there were no long faces the team did not pick up Earnhardt, Jr.

"As far as the business standpoint, every other team out there had the same opportunity Hendrick's did," Fambrough said. "They can go and they can get the right people if they want to pay the money for it."

Racing fans waited for this decision day, now they must await one more to find out if Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will continue to drive the number eight car he made famous. That decision rest in the hands of his step mother and DEI team owner Teresa Earnhardt, who let him walk away from the family business.

Kyle Busch will also be looking for a new team. To make room for Earnhardt as a driver for Hendrick Motorsports, the team will release Busch. The teams drivers will be Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Casey Mears. Busch is reportedly being pursued by Earnhardt's former DEI team.
Powered by Frankly