Doug Yates confirmed his team has been approached by a representative
of Hendrick Motorsports about securing the No. 38 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next year, but if Yates gets his way, there will be no such transfer.
Earnhardt recently was denied the opportunity to take the No. 8 from Dale
Earnhardt Inc. to Hendrick and now is considering other number options.
The No. 38 currently is being used by David Gilliland.
"Dale Jr., since he can't have what he wants, he might want the 38," said Yates, president of Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. "They're asking for the 38, and the 38 and 88 are our numbers.
"It's almost a little strange. It's like somebody asking if they can take your girlfriend or your wife out. We feel we're going to have the 38 and 88 [next year]."
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.''
While Yates said he is not interested in parting with the number, doesn't
everything in the sport have a price tag?
"That's my dad's side of it," Yates said, referring to his father, Robert
Yates. "But for me, these are our numbers, and we're set with them."
Angelique S. Chengelis is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage.