By admin | August 30, 2008
By Jayson D. Henry
Remember last year about this time when everybody was trying to figure out what number Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was going to be.
His soon to be old team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., was unwilling to give up his #8. So, the search was on for a suitable number that would provide the marketing opportunities his new team, Hendrick Motorsports, was looking for.
I remember a number of options being thrown around which involved DEI, HMS and Robert Yates Racing, which had a couple of numbers they were willing to part with for the right price.
There was one drawing of the #5 drawn to look remarkably similar to an eight. #5 was one of the numbers controlled by HMS.
There was consideration of using the #25, another HMS number, which could have signaled a fresh start for Junior.
The #38 was suggested. #38 was a Yates number. The significance would have been that it would have served as a combination of #3, Senior’s old number, and #8, Junior’s number.
Finally, the #88, another Yates number, was settled on. I guess two eights are better than one.
Well, Chad Johnson, the outrageous wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, has provided what would have been a perfect solution, had it come one year earlier. Johnson has officially changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco.
Johnson has used the nickname “Ocho Cinco” for a while now. His jersey number is #85 and ocho cinco is the Spanish wording for eight-five. He once wore a uniform during pre-game warm ups with the words “Ocho Cinco” written on the back where the players last name is supposed to be written. The “No Fun League” didn’t take too kindly to the move and fined Mr. Ocho Cinco.
Had Junior been thinking like the former Mr. Johnson, he could have settled the issue easily. He could have changed his name to “Eight” or “8” or “Ocho”. All of the T-shirts, hats, salt and pepper shakers, and most importantly, tattoos, could have remained useful.
It would not have mattered what the number on the side of the car was. His name would have served the purpose. And best of all for the Junior Nation, it would have been a way to annoy Teresa Earnhardt. It could’ve been the best of all worlds.
Oh well, I guess it’s too late now. But considering the number of shirts and hats that have been sold and the amount of money that has changed hands, I think Junior and HMS may have made a good decision. Besides, giving up the name Earnhardt might have proven to be a bad decision in the long run.
Jayson D. Henry is a guest blogger for RacingWithRich.com.
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