The number 8 makes a full-time return to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2019
In the 1950’s Ralph Earnhardt piloted a No. 8 machine at dirt tracks across the country. In 1975, his son Dale Earnhardt made his first NASCAR start. He piloted the No. 8 that day at Charlotte Motor Speedway before he made the switch to the No. 3.
Back in 1999, Dale Earnhardt Jr also made his debut driving the number 8 machine. He collected 17 wins behind the wheel of the No. 8 and made the number famous in NACSAR history.
For 2008, Dale Earnhardt Jr made the move to Hendrick Motorsports where he would finish his career in 2017. However, upon the team switch he also moved to the No. 88.
Dale Earnhardt Jr and Rick Hendrick attempted to purchase the No. 8 from Teresa Earnhardt. However, Dale Jr’s stepmother would not sell the number.
“If I was in her shoes, I probably would have done the same thing,” Earnhardt told ESPN back in 2009. “I don’t have any malice about Teresa’s decision on keeping that number. I really wasn’t as upset about it as everyone thought I was. It wasn’t as ugly a situation as a lot of people felt like it was.”
That number stayed with the Earnhardt team. Yet in 2009, the No. 8 was parked due to a lack of sponsorship for the Earnhardt/Ganassi team.
“I’m pretty sad about it,” Earnhardt said. “But I don’t think it will be gone for long. That number has a lot of history. The eight will be back and someone will add to it.”
The number went absent from the race track for most of the 2009 season all the way until 2018. Daniel Hemric made two starts in the No. 8 machine for RCR in 2018.
Full-time return of the No. 8
Now, for the first time since 2007, the car will run a full-time schedule in the NASCAR Cup Series. Daniel Hemric has been selected to replace Ryan Newman who will depart the team in 2019.
The No. 31 will be swapped out for the No. 8 on the RCR machine.
“Growing up in Kannapolis, it was all about racing,” said Daniel Hemric. “I always dreamed of having the opportunity to drive for RCR and for Richard himself. Now, two iconic numbers, the 3 and the 8, are going to be under one roof. I know it makes Richard happier than anybody, just understanding what that means for the sport of NASCAR and how our fans are going to be able to connect with that.”
Richard Childress Racing will be celebrating their 50th year in the sport at the start of the 2019 racing season.
“Car numbers are a big part of NASCAR and it makes me proud to have two of the most historic of those numbers under the RCR banner for our 50th anniversary season,” said team owner Richard Childress.
“With his Kannapolis roots and his old-school racer mentality, Daniel Hemric is the perfect choice to bring the No.8 back to the Cup Series on a full-time basis. He has demonstrated that he has what it takes to be a contender on the racetrack, and we are looking forward to the next step in his career.”
Daniel Hemric No. 8
“We have a lot of longstanding partners supporting this program and we’re proud to carry each of their colors on the No. 8 Chevrolet throughout the year,” Childress said. “I also want to welcome Cessna to the RCR family of partners.”
The car will feature a wide variety of primary sponsors when it touches tracks across the country in 2019.
“To have the support and backing from partners such as Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Liberty National Life Insurance, Cessna and VF Workwear means the world to me,” said Hemric. “Each one is a world-class organization that is dedicated to producing the best products and services with a commitment to excellence.”
“Our goals at RCR are to do the same, and we hope to deliver strong results and represent each of them to our highest ability on this No. 8 team throughout the year,” Hemric concluded.