Those wondering what Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving next year when he begins a five-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports have an answer. Earnhardt Jr. will leave his famous No. 8 car sponsored by Budweiser behind and pick up the No. 88 next season. His main sponsor will now be Mountain Dew, along with Amp Energy drink and the National Guard, while Budweiser will be jumping ship to sponsor Kasey Kahne's car for Evernham Motorsports.
Though many wanted to see Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 8 follow him to Hendrick Motorsports, DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, also Earnhardt Jr.'s step-mom, wouldn't give it up. The No. 88 has historical significance for the Earnhardt family too, though, as Jr.'s grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt, drove the No. 88 Oldsmobile back in 1957. The No. 88 was donated to Earnhardt Jr. in a selfless act by Robert Yates Racing, who asked NASCAR to transfer the retired number to Earnhardt Jr.'s new ride to keep the legacy alive.