RICHMOND, Va. - Could Dale Earnhardt Jr. take the No. 28, the number of car once used by the late Davey Allison, among others?
According to an updated application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Aug. 31, it’s certainly possible.
Over the summer, Hendrick Motorsports officials filed applications for federal trademarks five possible numbers for Earnhardt Jr. – the Nos. 38, 51, 58, 81 and 82. The last of those (Nos. 38 and 51) were filed on Aug. 9. The No. 28 was added a week ago.
Robert Yates Racing was the last to use the No. 28 in Nextel Cup Series competition in the 2002 season with driver Ricky Rudd. During its time in NASCAR, several drivers have used the number, including Allison, Dale Jarrett, the late Kenny Irwin, Ernie Irvan, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison and A.J. Foyt, among others.
Asked Friday if the Yates organization still had any claim on the No. 28, team co-owner Doug Yates said it did not. “It’s his if NASCAR let’s them have it.”
During a news conference on Friday, Hendrick team owner Rick Hendrick said Earnhardt Jr.'s car number would not be the No. 25 next season. Hendrick currently fields the Nos. 24, 48, 5 and 25.
Team officials have consistently declined to comment on plans for Earnhardt Jr.'s sponsor and car number for next season.