NASCAR racing car Number 8 team flounders for financial support is it because Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is not there? The team driver for number 8 is Aric Almirola, a young driver and unproven on the track. Is that why their sponsorships are failing?
The unsettling trend of NASCAR racing teams closing up shop continued even after the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing seized operations on the number 8 team driven by Aric Almirola due to lack of sponsorship. They received financial support from Activision and its Guitar Hero video game, as well as Tom Tom and Champion Sports Apparel, nonetheless the season was longer than the available money could support.
Car Number 8 is a big deal in NASCAR racing. Just about 2 years ago it was the most recognized number in NASCAR. I live in NASCAR country and see mailboxes and license plates with Number 8 on them everywhere. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a hero. He drove car number 8 for Budweiser Chevrolet from 2000-2007, plus some races in 1999. Not just driving, but WINNING 17 races in the red number 8 car including the Daytona 500 in 2004. We know the number 8 was notable in recent years but it also has a history within the Earnhardt family. Back in the fifties and sixties, Ralph Earnhardt used number 8 in his racing days. And Dale Earnhardt Sr. debuted with number 8 at the Winston Cup in 1975.
When Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in 2001, NASCAR racing fans latched onto Jr. and catapulted him to popular fame status. Even people who never watched NASCAR racing followed Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the sports pages. The company ran into some management difficulties and Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved on with Hendrick Motorsports and number 88. Who knows if more money would flow to number 8 if Dale Earnhardt Jr. was still the driver?
Car Number 8 is a HUGE in NASCAR racing. About 2 years ago it was the most recognized number in NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove car number 8 for Budweiser Chevrolet from 2000 -2007, and some races in 1999. He did not only drive, he WON 17 races in the red number 8 car, including the Daytona 500 in 2004. Not only has number 8 been notable in recent years but it also has a long tradition with Earnhardt family. Ralph Earnhardt used number 8 in his racing days back in the fifties and sixties. Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove with number 8 to win the Winston Cup in 1975. So, given this family history it is surprising that Dale Jr. left the team and car of fame, number 8.
Then Earnhardt Ganassi Racing came into being. It happened when Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates started working together. Even with that effort, they came up short of the money needed to keep Almirola competing in all 36 races.
Maybe if they had signed up a proven veteran like Bobby Labonte they could have gotten better sponsorship. But Labonte chose to go with Hall of Fame Racing and Yates Racing instead. As the 2000 Winston Cup champion he had guaranteed sponsors from Academy Sports and Outdoors and Ask.com. Almirola is a talented young driver but companies tend to steer clear of unproven drivers. So Car Number 8 is suffering right now and NASCAR racing fans feel it.
It has only been one year and these teams have made some audacious changes. There were 7 teams spread among them - three with Chip Ganassi Racing and four with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. But right now there is a total of only two teams within these combined NASCAR racing organizations. It is too soon to tell what long range effects the recession may have on these teams but it does make you wonder what comes next.