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Earnhardt Jr. To Drive For...

Cory Wolfe

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Earnhardt to join Hendrick Motorsports for '08 season

By Joe Menzer, NASCAR.COM
June 13, 2007
02:45 PM EDT

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Sixteen years after they jokingly put pen to napkin, roughly four years after his own son predicted it would happen one day and Rick Hendrick scoffed at the idea, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has joined the team at Hendrick Motorsports.

Hendrick and Earnhardt made it official with an 11 a.m. ET announcement Wednesday at JR Motorsports, the facility owned by Earnhardt out of which he operates a Busch Series team and other budding racing ventures (watch video).

The outfit Earnhardt is joining at Hendrick is no budding racing venture, but rather the organization that clearly sits at the head of the Nextel Cup table, stock-car racing's most elite series. Earnhardt joins a stable of drivers that includes superstars Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, and up-and-coming talent Casey Mears.

As expected, the odd man out in the development will be current Hendrick driver Kyle Busch. Rick Hendrick said that he expects Busch to finish out this season as driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, but that Busch will be released from his contract at the end of this season.

Busch's contract was to run through 2008, and Hendrick said that he and Busch mutually agreed that it would be best for Hendrick Motorsports and the young driver to part ways.

Meanwhile, Hendrick and Earnhardt could not contain their smiles Wednesday at the thought of what might lie ahead for them over the course of a five-year contract for Earnhardt. When he said five weeks earlier that he definitely was leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc., the racing operation founded by his late father, Earnhardt said he wanted to drive for the organization that would give him the best opportunities to win races and championships.

He said Wednesday that he firmly believes he has found that in Hendrick Motorsports.

More Edited by blackviper8891
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Yeah, Lee Spencer, the lady who writes for foxsports.com had already predicted this and was pretty convincing in her reasoning.

I am not surprised. Man JG JJ and JR seems like Hendrick will pummel opponents next year.

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I was kind of hoping he'd go to RCR... and maybe drive the 3 car... but oh well!

I just saw an inverview with Dale Jr. on ESPN, and his response to why he wasn't at RCR in the 3 car (never wanted to, it's his father's # etc.) made made it all clear. So... I'm glad he ended up at Hendrick Motorsports, and it will be interesting to see how the next 5 years play out!

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Supposedly if Busch goes to DEI, then they can try to work out a number trade so Jr. can keep the #8.

From what I have read, as of now, Casey Mears will be moving to the #5 when Busch leaves, and Jr. will be driving the #25 Budwieser car. Bud used to sponsor the #25 back in the day.

Also, from what I have heard is that if Jr. were to ever go to RCR and drive the #3, it would be at the end of his career.

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Rumors are flying hot that Budwieser may sign with 9 car and Kasey Kahne. So Dale Jr could be the #8 Kellogg's Chevy. You know now that Jr. is there Kellogg's isn't going to want to leave, and Budwieser wants a whole car. The Dodges are struggling so the extra money from Budweiser makes perfect sense for EMS and Kahne plus he is a young marketable guy that all the women love.

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Jr. isn't worthy of the #3 and never will be. Honestly, he's not that good of a driver because he cannot be consistent.

However, I will admit that Hendrick Motorsports COULD change that. Maybe Chevrolet should sign a corporate deal like Dodge did with EMS. We all know that Toyota will eventually catch on and dominate the sport if GM doesn't factory back it's teams. So GM should either commit or pull out altogether.

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I would be VERY suprised if Bud decided to back Kahne after the year that he has had so far. They have a good thing going with Jr.

I sure hope he starts running well at Hendrick though. Hendrick is putting together the most solid package so far this year. All of their drivers had one a race this year. If they can keep doing that next year with Jr. on board, then Jr. will have no excuse not to be running well. I really don't think DEI is giving him the cars that he needs to run well.

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