At Homestead this weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will hang up his helmet, ending his career as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver. Of course, when he announced his impending retirement, accolades and tributes to Jr. started rolling in.
Another, from long-time former sponsor Budweiser, debuted today. Check it out:
It's a great ad and a fitting tribute to Jr. from the sponsor that's probably most associated with him, even though it hasn't been a sponsor since he moved to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. What is notable, though, is what's missing from the ad: The 8 on Dale's car.
Watch it again, closely. Every time the camera could show the 8, it either suddenly cuts, is obscured, or the number is actually shopped out of the image.
Why would that be? Well, there could be a few reasons, like Budweiser currently sponsoring Kevin Harvick's 4 car in NASCAR competition or Dale Jr. and Hendrick not wanting him associated with something other than the 88.
Or, it could be part of the well-documented issues between Jr. () and his step-mom, Theresa Earnhardt. When Jr. left Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008 to join Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick and Dale attempted to buy the 8 from Theresa for use on his car at Hendrick. , even though it's a number that has been in the Earnhardt family for generations. Jr. raced with the number because it was the one his grandfather used in competition.
Theresa and Dale Earnhardt Inc. still own the rights to the 8, even though it isn't currently used in active NASCAR Cup competition.
We've reached out to find out exactly why and will update when we hear back.