Dale Earnhardt Jr. has announced that he will drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. He will be replacing Kyle Busch. It was not announced where Busch would end up. The contract will keep Earnhardt Jr. in the Hendrick stable for the next five years.
Earnhardt Jr. made the announcement from his JR Motorsports shop in Mooresville, NC.
When he made it known that he would be leaving DEI a few months ago, Earnhardt Jr. said he wanted to find a place where he could win a championship. Today, at the beginning of the conference, he said he believes that he's found that man and introduced his new team owner, Rick Hendrick. The two of them unveiled a Hendrick Motorsports backdrop.
Kyle Busch released a statement regarding his release.
"We had been working on a contract extension for me to remain at Hendrick Motorsports, but after prolonged negotiations, we mutually agreed that a fresh start was in order. I have been granted a release after the 2007 season. I have tremendous respect for Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. It's where I grew up, and I have a lot of great memories. I kind of feel like I'm graduating. I'm excited about my future, and I know a lot of opportunities await because of what everyone at Hendrick did for me - on the track and off. I still have a job to do this year, and will give it my all - just as I've always done - to make sure we put the #5 car in victory lane a few more times before the year is out."
Busch is in talks with DEI and could replace Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. said that sponsorship has not been talked about. The SPEED Channel reported that Budweiser is talking to other teams including Kasey Kahne.
Hendrick noted that Earnhardt Jr. will have a hand in the design of his new car. Earnhardt Jr. said he is looking for a number and car design that would look 'cool'. He said he would like to keep the number 8, if possible and joked that he would talk to Teresa [Earnhardt] about it. Hendrick noted that he would be open to swapping the 5 for the 8, if DEI approves.