While some may have been surprised by JR Motorsports’ announcement Friday that it was changing one of its car numbers to the No. 8 in 2019, the move was sort of telegraphed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. three months ago.
Twitter of course.
On Oct. 31, Earnhardt responded to a fan asking what Xfinity Series race he was planning to compete in this year.
He answered by saying he was “working toward” the Aug. 31 race at Darlington Raceway.
Minutes later he posted a graphic of concept art for a No. 8 car with a throwback paint scheme.
A couple of hours later, Earnhardt responded to a group of fans who had observed that JR Motorsports didn’t own the rights to the No. 8 in the Xfinity Series. Instead, they belonged to BJ McLeod Motorsports.
Then late Friday afternoon, not long after the news regarding the No. 8 was made official, Earnhardt posted a short video on Twitter explaining how the teams made the switch.
It was the result of Earnhardt’s desire to run the No. 8 at Darlington and NASCAR not allowing teams to swap numbers for one-off races.
“So we talked to BJ and asked if he’d be willing to give us the No. 8 for the whole season,” Earnhardt said. “He was nice enough to do it.”
The agreement is a recent one. BJ McLeod Motorsports announced it was expanding to three cars on Jan. 10, and listed the No. 8 as one of its cars with Matt Mills driving it.
BJ McLeod Motorsports will announce its new number next week.
This isn’t the first time Earnhardt has fielded the No. 8 in Xfinity. He fielded Martin Truex Jr. for consecutive series titles in 2004-05 with the No. 8 when he owned Chance 2 Motorsports.