Now that the business and commercial issues are out of the way, an early start to the competitive side of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s move to Hendrick Motorsports may be in the works.
The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday that Rick Hendrick is considering asking car owners involved in the forthcoming driver changes to agree to a plan that would let Earnhardt Jr. test in a Hendrick car of tomorrow at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month.
The idea would be for Earnhardt Jr. to test for Hendrick, Kyle Busch to test for Joe Gibbs Racing, J.J. Yeley to test for Hall of Fame Racing and Regan Smith to test in the Dale Earnhardt Jr. car he’ll be driving next year.
“Car owners do work together, so we'll see if that's a possibility," Hendrick said. ESPN.com, meanwhile, reported Friday that Tony Eury Jr. will leave as Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief for the No. 8 Chevrolets after the Oct. 7 at Talladega. Eury Jr. will move to Hendrick Motorsports with Earnhardt Jr. next year.
ESPN.com said Eury Jr. will be allowed to take four members of the current No. 8 team with him to Hendrick as part of the deal that freed him to make the move. Tony Gibson, who served as Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief when Eury Jr. was suspended for six races this year, will finish out the year on the No. 8 car.
Gibson is considered to be a candidate to be Smith’s crew chief when he drives what is now the No. 01 at DEI next year. Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will share the No. 8 ride in 2008.