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Hendrick not sure what DEI wants in exchange for No. 8

SONOMA, Calif. -- Car owner Rick Hendrick has let it be known to officials at Dale Earnhardt Inc. that he'd like to purchase the No. 8 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he begins driving for his organization in 2008.

"I'm not sure what their position is or what they want for it," Hendrick said Saturday between practices at Infineon Raceway.

Earnhardt said last week he would like to stay in the No. 8 if a deal can be reached with DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, who has the rights to the number and his long-time sponsor, Budweiser.

Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI, said he will not act until there is a formal proposal.

Hendrick doesn't expect any sort of announcement for at least a few weeks.

"Honestly, we're leaving everything open," he said. "It's just so early. If you say you're going to do something and you really think you are, six weeks from now we might change our mind again.

"We're working through our sponsors and everything."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.