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Rest in Peace Number 8

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing

Rest in Peace Number 8

Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
August 21, 2007

Days have passed now since the announcement that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would not be racing a number eight on his car next season. I wanted to ensure that I had the correct information regarding my commentary before I began shooting from the hip. Finding that there was no rocket science involved, it's my feeling I can now offer my say not only as a fan of Dale Jr, but the degredation of a car number that is not only iconic to its current driver, but of the Earnhardt family as a whole. I warn you, some of the issues I am about to print some may be a find a tad crass.

First, when we discovered Dale Jr. was leaving DEI, one of the first issues became of the fact we all hoped Teresa Earnhardt would allow the number to depart with him. We were quick to be reminded that it was NASCAR who governed the issuance of all numbers to all race teams, and it appeared that the decision would ultimately be theirs. It was then I was willing to take it on the chin not once, but twice. *Tongue in Cheek* ...that my favorite driver was defecting to the enemy, and he may not be able to take his number with him. However, he was STILL Dale Earnhardt Jr. Roll with the punches, right?

It's only now, but some evil S.N.A.F.U. that we discover that Teresa Earnhardt ends up with the upper hand regarding the transference of the number eight. As a show of this very fact, it is apparent that Nazism still exists in the modern age of ownership as she has decided to retain possession of the our beloved numeral. Now, I ask, what does this number mean to HER? In this writer's opinion, nothing more than getting the last laugh on a step son whose relationship had been rocky since the get-go. Historically throughout the Earnhardt Dynasty, the eight has had great significance.

Ralph Earnhardt, did in fact, race other numbers, such as 31, but ended up being known, and appreciated for hauling ass with the eight painted on his doors. As in any empire, the torch is passed to a son eventually, thus no exception. Ralph Dale Earnhardt, racing many different numbers throughout his illustrious career, began with the eight, and even paid homage to his father's accomplishments in a 1988 Busch race by pasting the same number to the doors of his Camaro. Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't escape the numbers game either my friends. Though ending his Busch series dominance with his father's legendary number three planted on his Monte Carlo to inhereting his grandfather's historic eight, which we've all come to know, love, and appreciate throughout the world of NASCAR. Teresa Earnhardt simply married into the family. No matter what escapes her dictating pie hole from now on, knows not the true significance behind the number she has so thoughtlessly theifed from her estranged step son.

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