Dale Earnhardt Jr. Finally Wins Bitter Legal Battle


After years of tension and legal wrangling, the famous No. 8 racing number is making a comeback under its most celebrated driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. This marks the end of a prolonged feud with Teresa Earnhardt, widow of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. and former owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI).

For nearly 20 years, the No. 8 had been tightly held under the DEI banner, a move that many fans felt was more about control than legacy. Dale Jr.’s departure from DEI had left the number in limbo, and its association with the brand became a point of contention among NASCAR enthusiasts who longed to see it return to its rightful heir.

Recently, Teresa Earnhardt relinquished the trademark, allowing it to enter a sort of free agency where any team could potentially claim it. However, it seems destined to return to Dale Jr., who has applied for the trademark through DEJ Holdings. The anticipated transfer, likely to occur in 2025, is seen as a restoration of the number’s dignity and a tribute to its historical significance. The saga, often melodramatically referred to by fans as the battle against the “Wicked Witch of NASCAR,” has stirred the community for years.

With the trademark officially cancelled as of June 15, and DEJ Holdings poised to take over, the path is clear.

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Daytona Beach, FL – Feb 23, 2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) wins the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL.

After Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s death in 2001, control of Dale Earnhardt Inc. fell to his widow, Teresa, sparking a family feud that shifted the dynamics of the Earnhardt racing legacy. Dale Jr., alongside siblings Kerry and Kelly, sought an equitable stake in DEI but faced resistance from Teresa.

The disagreement culminated in Dale Jr.’s departure to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. Central to the dispute has been the control over DEI assets, including crucial trademarks like the No. 8 race car number, which Teresa has famously been accused of holding “hostage.” The restriction notably barred Dale Jr. from using the number.


The relationship between Dale Jr. and Teresa has been notably cold and fraught with legal battles from Dale Jr.’s childhood. Among these conflicts was a contentious dispute over the Earnhardt name’s use in a home design and furniture business by Dale Jr.’s half-brother Kerry, leading to more courtroom struggles.

However, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

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