Earnhardt Jr. waiting to announce new number, sponsors

Updated: August 31, 2007, 11:03 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

FONTANA, Calif. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Friday that he has a number and sponsors in place for next season at Hendrick Motorports, but everyone will have to wait to find out what those are.

"When we're ready to announce it, it won't be on pit road after a qualifying lap," Earnhardt said after his qualifying run at California Speedway. "We'll do it in a press conference."

Earnhardt said the announcement would come within a couple of weeks and he's happy with the decisions that were made.

Several reports this week said Hendrick Motorsports has applied for trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for five numbers -- 81, 82, 51, 58 and 38.

David Gilliland uses the 38 at Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. Team president Doug Yates told ESPN.com that he prefers to keep the number.

Earnhardt said people need to stop worrying about it. "Way too much attention has been given to this," he said.

Earnhardt also talked about his Busch Series team, saying he wants to hire driver Brad Keselowski full-time for 2008.

"I think Brad is really talented and I think he's great for a team like ours," Earnhardt said. "We going to sit down with his lawyer next week, but I also have to make sure the Navy folks [the primary sponsor of the No. 88 Chevy] are OK with it."

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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