DALE EARNHARDT, INC. ANNOUNCES 2008 NEXTEL CUP DRIVER LINEUP Smith to take the wheel of DEI's fourth entry; Martin and Almirola to take over the No. 8 RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 7, 2007) -- Dale Earnhardt, Inc.'s four-car lineup has been settled...
DALE EARNHARDT, INC. ANNOUNCES 2008 NEXTEL CUP DRIVER LINEUP
Smith to take the wheel of DEI's fourth entry; Martin and Almirola to take over the No. 8
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 7, 2007) -- Dale Earnhardt, Inc.'s four-car lineup has been settled for the 2008 season, with Regan Smith being the latest driver to join the organization. Smith is the final piece to the driver corps that includes Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard, Mark Martin and Aric Almirola.
"Our lineup is a perfect blend of veteran leadership and youthful promise," said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. "The addition of Mark Martin's leadership and his desire to mentor our drivers is huge for us. Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr. have been with our company for several years and we have confidence and great expectations in both of them, which allows us to further develop our future with two rookie drivers in Regan and Aric."
Martin, a 26-year NASCAR veteran, will take the wheel of the No. 8 Chevrolet in 2008, which is set to be sponsored again by the U.S. Army. Martin will run a limited schedule similar to the one he ran in 2007, with rookie Aric Almirola driving the balance of the races.
"This has been a great opportunity for me and this team," said Martin. "It's a great honor to drive for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and it's a great honor to drive the No. 8 car for this organization. I raced against Dale Earnhardt for a lot of years and I know what kind of competitor he was on the track. We have a really big legacy to live up to, but I'm confident that we are putting together an organization that he would be proud of."
Truex, who is currently 10th in the Nextel Cup Point standings, returns for his third full year behind the wheel of a Nextel Cup entry - again handling the driving duties for the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Menard returns in the No. 15 Menard's Chevrolet for his second full season.
Smith's car number and sponsor will be announced at a later date. He has shared duties in the No. 01 Chevrolet with Martin, making six Nextel Cup starts this season. He will contend for rookie of the year honors in 2008.
The stable of drivers will showcase a powerful mix of experienced and youthful talent. Martin has compiled one of the most successful careers in NASCAR history. Voted one of the 50 greatest NASCAR drivers ever, the veteran has amassed 35 wins and 41 poles in his Nextel Cup career.
Martin Truex Jr. has emerged as one of the premier young talents in NASCAR. A two-time Busch Series Champion, Truex enters this weekend having posted 10 top-10 and five top-five finishes, including a dominating performance in a win earlier this year at Dover.
The two will anchor a group that adds the unlimited potential of Menard, Smith and Almirola. The five DEI drivers that will drive in Nextel Cup in 2008 have combined for 105 NASCAR victories, along with 91 poles and over 670 top-10 finishes in all three of NASCAR's major series.