NASCAR & Auto Racing

DEI finalizes driver lineup for the 2008 Cup season

RICHMOND, Va. – Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will share the No. 8 Chevrolets for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008 and Regan Smith will join them along with Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard in the DEI lineup next season, the team confirmed Friday.

Smith’s sponsor and car number will be announced later. The U.S. Army, which was the sponsor for Martin and the No. 01, will sponsor Martin and Almirola in the No. 8 next year.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has driven the No. 8 Chevrolet for DEI since he came into the Cup Series. Earnhardt Jr. will leave DEI at the end of the 2007 season.

“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 will run a limited schedule similar to the one he ran in 2007, with 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.”