Why Dale Earnhardt Jr Tweaked the Font of the No. 88 on His Car Compared to Hendrick Teammates

Published 12/19/2020, 12:26 PM CST
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 05: Dale Earnhardt Jr driver of the #88 National Guard / AMP Chevrolet races with Jeff Gordon Driver of the #24 Dupont Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)


In NASCAR, every driver is distinguishable through their racing numbers. However, it is worth noting that the ‘number font’ styles for each team are fairly consistent. Then, there is the Hendrick Motorsports team and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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Under normal circumstances, the team prefers to have the number font leaning backward.

However, some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that there is a difference between the no. 88 fonts for Dale Jr and Alex Bowman. During the Dale Earnhardt Jr era, the number was depicted to be leaning forwards, but when Alex Bowman took over, the 88 number was depicted as leaning backward.

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Why did Dale Earnhardt Jr go against the flow?

Apparently, everything boils down to a force of habit for Dale Jr. He also revealed that this practice has been going on since his father was racing in NASCAR.

Dale Jr revealed, “HMS tried to lean mine back a few times, so it’d be consistent branding with the other teams numbers. Sr. always said that numbers need to lean forward though, similar to how a person leans when they run”

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 23: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

All in all, it was a fairly enlightening explanation and proves that everyone has idiosyncrasies. In other words, every racing driver or athlete has something that makes them tick.

Evidently, Dale Earnhardt Jr inherited one from his father and it stuck with him throughout his NASCAR career.

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Luckily, the team wisely respected his choice, but later got a chance to change it back after he retired. Owing to this, Bowman’s no. 88 car saw its racing number lean backward until 2020.

For the 2021 Cup Series season, the no. 88 number will no longer be seen on the Hendrick Motorsports car for a while.

In essence, Kyle Larson was set to race in that no. 88 car after Bowman’s promotion to the #48 car. However, the team decided that they needed a rebranding, so they brought back the no. 5 for Larson.

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Dhruv George

11652 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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