ThatsRacin

Here’s Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final No. 88 car and the No. 8 Chevy that inspired it

The No. 88 car Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run at at Homestead Miami Speedway on Nov. 19 will look much like the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet that Earnhardt Jr. drove in 1999, his inaugural Cup Series season. Earnhardt Jr. drove in five Cup Series races in 1999 and went full-time in 2000.
The No. 88 car Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run at at Homestead Miami Speedway on Nov. 19 will look much like the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet that Earnhardt Jr. drove in 1999, his inaugural Cup Series season. Earnhardt Jr. drove in five Cup Series races in 1999 and went full-time in 2000. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Longtime Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans will get a sense of deja vu when they see the paint scheme for the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the final race of his NASCAR Cup Series career.

The paint scheme for the No. 88 Chevrolet SS he’ll run in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway on Nov. 19 looks much like the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet Monte Carlo that Earnhardt Jr. drove in 1999, his inaugural Cup Series season.

Earnhardt revealed the new car’s look Wednesday night during a one-hour “For Race Fans Only” #Appreci88ion Tour television special on QVC Network. The color scheme features a red body, black roof and posts and black stripes down both sides, much like the original Chevys from 1999.

For those with a nostalgic bent, here are several Observer and Associated Press photos from the archives of the No. 8 Earnhardt Budweiser-sponsored Chevrolets with similar paint schemes.

Earnhardt ran five Cup Series races in 1999 and went full-time in the series the following season.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., practices in the Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 8 Chevrolet for the 1999 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jeff Burton won the 600 on May 30, 1999. Dale Earnhardt finished sixth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th. The following year, Earnhardt Jr. would compete full time in Cup Series. David Hinshaw dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. and members of his No. 8 Chevrolet team fill the car with gas and pushed it into position to be inspected in the Winston Cup garage area at North Carolina Speedway near Rockingham on Feb. 23, 2001. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

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Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. battle one another on February 13, 2002 during a practice at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., left, listens to a crew member as he sits in his Winston Cup race car before a May 5, 1999 practice session at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. Earnhardt, then the NASCAR Busch Grand National (now the Xfinity Series) champion, was attempting to qualify for his first Cup Series race in the Coca-Cola 600. Chuck Burton AP File Photo

Earnhardt, 42, announced earlier this year that he will retire from full-time Cup Series competition at season’s end. He plans to compete in at least two NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2018.

Earnhardt has won 26 times in 616 Cup Series starts at NASCAR’s highest level. He has 149 top-five and 256 top-10 finishes as well as 14 Coors Light Pole Awards.

The son of seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, the younger Earnhardt also won two championships in the XFINITY Series (1998-99), where he has 24 career victories.

Earnhardt, Hendrick Motorsports and others posted several views of the 2017 Chevy on social media.

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