Yates, Hendrick talking about deal for No. 38 for Earnhardt Jr.

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 38?

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Monday that Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are discussing a transfer of that number for 2008. The No. 38 currently is being used by David Gilliland.

No formal request has been made to NASCAR, which has to ultimately approve the transfer.

The number would allow Earnhardt, who learned last week that the No. 8 he has driven his entire Nextel Cup career at Dale Earnhardt Inc. would not go with him to HMS, to link his past with the present. Earnhardt's father, Dale Earnhardt, won six of his seven championships in the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing.

Officials at Hendrick, Yates and and Earnhardt's JR Motorsports could not be reached for comment.

But Earnhardt said last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway that fans will "get excited about what we're going to do.''

"I know my fans are going to enjoy it,'' he said of his new number. "I wish I could be in the No. 8. I don't think that's something that goes away or I get used to.

"The possibilities I'm looking at I like a lot and are pretty cool and I think I can make an identity with.''

Should Yates give up No. 38, it still has the rights to the No. 28 that was last used in 2002 with Ricky Rudd.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com.