Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet will have a patriotic look in the 49th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet will have a patriotic look in the 49th annual Pepsi 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday, July 7 at Daytona International Speedway. The No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet fielded out of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. stable will be red, white and blue with stars and stripes for the 160-lap, 400-mile race under the lights at "The World Center of Racing." The patriotic paint scheme is one of two military-themed paint schemes that Budweiser and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are doing for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. The proceeds from collectible die casts sales of the military themed paint schemes will provide college educations for surviving dependents of fallen Special Operations soldiers. Kevin King, a close friend of Earnhardt Jr. who does all the designs for the JR Motorsports Busch Series team, designed the stars and stripes No. 8 car for the Pepsi 400, one of NASCAR's most exciting nighttime spectacles held on Independence Day holiday weekend. "We thought that over the years there really hadn't been a well-done red-white-blue patriotic race car, there has been a lot done, but none done well," Earnhardt Jr. said. "So we came up with our idea and we are very proud of it. We think it is one of the best looking ones we have actually seen. "I met (Kevin) on the Internet racing about five years ago. He has studied design and whatnot and we became pretty good friends. He always comes up with some pretty cool cars for the games so I thought I would give him a shot. He is pretty excited that his car is actually going to be on the race track. He is trying not to brag too much to the other guys." Earnhardt Jr. doesn't compete in races with special paint schemes too often but has raced with different colors several times at DIS and experienced some success. He won the 2001 Pepsi 400 - his first DIS points win - driving a Major League Baseball All-Star Game paint scheme and captured the 2004 Daytona 500 with a Budweiser Born On Date paint scheme. Earnhardt Jr., who has 10 career victories at DIS, believes a victory with the patriotic No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet will boost die cast sales and make the paint scheme more memorable to fans. "If you run good and finish good or win a race in a special paint scheme, that will impact the souvenir sales and it frames up an image of that scheme in your mind and plants it in a memory that is a good memory," Earnhardt Jr. said. "You always have good thoughts about it." Earnhardt Jr. will pull double duty in the Pepsi 400 Weekend by also competing in the Winn-Dixie 250 presented by PepsiCo NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday, July 6, which he is the defending champion. Earnhardt Jr. is part of an exclusive ticket package for the Pepsi 400 called the "Dale Earnhardt Jr. Experience," which is available for $145 per person. The offer includes a ticket to an exclusive Dale Earnhardt Jr. appearance inside NEXTEL FANZONE before it opens to the public on Saturday, July 7, a Pepsi 400 Superstretch seat (rows 33-61) and a Pepsi 400 Pre-Race/NEXTEL FANZONE pass Tickets for the Pepsi 400 Weekend are available online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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