Martin will join Almirola in No. 8 car for 2008 season
Updated: September 12, 2007, 4:44 PM ETBy David Newton | ESPN.com
RICHMOND, Va. -- Mark Martin didn't have to look far on Friday to see the number he'll drive the next two seasons for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
RICHMOND, Va. -- Rick Hendrick remained coy on what number Dale Earnhardt Jr. will use next season, but he eliminated a couple options.
"Not going to be the 8," he said with a smile. "Nor the 25."
The 8 was eliminated a few weeks ago when HMS announced it would not meet the demands of Dale Earnhardt Inc., which owns the number that has been Earnhardt's throughout his Nextel Cup career.
The 25 was eliminated when it was announced earlier this week that Casey Mears, in that car now, will drive the No. 5 in 2008.
Hendrick all but eliminated the 51 or 52, among a handful of numbers for which HMS has applied for trademark rights, on Friday at Richmond International Speedway after officially announcing his five-year extension with General Motors.
"We're hoping it will be something with an 8 in it," he said.
The other numbers for which trademarks have been applied are the 81, 58, 38 and 82. The 38 is owned by Yates Racing, and team co-owner Doug Yates has suggested a deal might be difficult.
Earnhardt said more than a month ago he liked the No. 81.
"We really don't have that locked down," Hendrick said of the new number.
But he hopes to announce the new number within the next two weeks. Hendrick also expects to release the name of Earnhardt's new sponsor, which is expected to be an energy drink associated with the Mountain Dew brand and the National Guard.
-- David Newton
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