Dale Jr. Jokes About Running the No. 8 Car in 2018

Photo by Tim Parks/Harold Hinson Photography

By Jerry Jordan, Editor
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Heading into this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Junior Nation need not fear as NASCAR’s soon-to-be 15-time most popular driver is not “retiring” from racing and is contemplating running the No. 8 car next season.

This week on the Dale Jr. Download, the weekly podcast where Earnhardt Jr. discusses his past week’s performance, upcoming tracks and just about anything else on the top of his mind, he explained that technically he is not “retiring” from racing, just stepping down from full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He then went into a tongue and cheek exchange with his wife, Amy, on running the No. 8 car in 2018.

It was during the fan Q&A segment and Amy read a question asking why JR Motorsports used the No. 7 on one of its Xfinity Series cars instead of the No. 8. It was something Earnhardt Jr. took a few seconds to think about, explained and then predicted will change for 2018, when he races in two Xfinity events he had previously committed to run. Earnhardt Jr. had already alluded he might run a one-off Daytona 500 in the future, as well, when asked by FOX Sports.

“I don’t know, what the hell, why not the No. 8,” Earnhardt Jr. reflected. “Somebody must have had No. 8. God, I should know this. My goodness. I don’t know where seven came from. We first had seven when Danica came. Was she No. 7 in IndyCar, or something? I don’t know where or why seven and not eight. We could probably do eight. Let’s do eight one year. That is a good question.

“I think we should change to the No. 8.”

Humoring her husband and somewhat egging him on, Amy asked, “Why?”

“Because eight is cool,” he said. “Maybe, I could be eight next year in my Xfinity races.”

“Oh Lord, going back to the original,” Amy said, as she began to laugh.

“We might put up a poll and see what people think,” Earnhardt Jr. said, as Amy predicted a landslide of approval for his running the No. 8, again.

Earnhardt Jr. then explained why he isn’t calling his upcoming Junior Nation Appreci88ion Tour a “retirement tour.”

“So, a lot of people are going to wonder why an appreciation tour and not a retirement tour,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “This is not a retirement tour because I am not retiring from driving cars. Basically, this career was influenced by a lot of folks and we want to make sure that they are recognized and we want to make sure that the fans are recognized.”

The Junior Nation Appreci88ion Tour is something he came up with to honor his family, friends, crew members, industry workers, track officials, the media and anyone else who has played a role in his racing career, he said.

“So, it’s not just Junior Nation and it is not just the fans, it is anybody that supported me along the way,” he said. “We are encouraging people to use the hashtag #Apprci88ion when they tweet memories, pictures of whatever you want to do.”

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