In 2008, NASCAR's most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. surpassed all of America by joining Hendrick Motorsports, the champion of Chevrolet works teams.
Earnhardt Jr.'s car had been number 8 since his debut in 2000, but the number he picked after his transfer was 88. His sponsor was no longer his long time sponsor Budweiser, now changed to AMP Energy/National Guard. These changes truly marked a new beginning.
The father of "Jr." is of course Dale Earnhardt, who holds the record for the most number of NASCAR championships - a total of 7. He is a legendary driver who passed away unexpectedly in an accident in the 2001 Daytona 500. After his father passed away, Dale Jr. immediately rose as everyone's favorite, and his popularity extends not just within the racing world, but into American sports and entertainment as well.
Dale Jr. is best known for his skill in races with restrictor plates. These are races unique to NASCAR, where the speed of the car are suppressed in super-speedways like the Daytona and Taladega where one lap exceeds 2.5 miles. He has earned a total of 7 wins in these races.
From the setup of his machine, lines on the track to his fearless, aggressive style, there is no one better than Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. gained his first victory after a 76 race blank in the first year of the team change in 2008, but he came upon rough times for some time thereafter, not being able to produce significant results. However in the first race of 2010, he achieved a podium finish, hinting high hopes for the new season.