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The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is starting to take shape for Hendrick Motorsports.

The organization announced Tuesday that Casey Mears will move from the No. 25 Chevrolet and drive the No. 5 car next season. Kyle Busch, the current driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, is leaving Hendrick Motorsports for Joe Gibbs Racing following this season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced earlier this season that he will be part of Hendrick's four-car stable which also include four-time series champion Jeff Gordon and reigning title holder Jimmie Johnson.

In his first season with Hendrick Motorsports, Mears has notched one victory, a pole position, four top-five finishes and six top-10s through 25 races in the No. 25 car.

Next year Mears will team with crew chief Alan Gustafson, 32, who has earned four wins, two poles, 25 top-five finishes and 45 top-10s since his first season as crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet in 2005. Only five Cup Series teams have posted more top-10 finishes during that span.

"My goal is to meet the high standard the drivers before me helped established with the No. 5 Chevrolet, both on and off the track," the 29-year-old Mears said. "I'm looking forward to working with Alan and the team to continue the winning tradition."

Since its inception in 1984, the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team has posted 27 victories and 35 pole positions with just four different drivers - Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte and Busch.

"The No. 5 was our first car (at Hendrick Motorsports), so, for me, there's a lot of personal history in that team," team owner Rick Hendrick said. "Casey has proven capable of winning and running up front, which is what the No. 5 has always been about."

Busch secured his second consecutive "Chase for the Championship" berth with the No. 5 team Sunday at California Speedway.

Hendrick Motorsports also announced Tuesday that Tony Eury Jr. will move from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to Hendrick in 2008 and serve as Earnhardt's crew chief.

Eury, who has been Earnhardt's crew chief over the past two seasons, signed a multi-year agreement with Hendrick this week.

"Tony Jr. and Dale have a successful history working together," Hendrick said. "They have trust in each other, which is the biggest part of the relationship between driver and crew chief. We have the utmost confidence in their ability to win races and compete for titles at Hendrick Motorsports."

Eury will continue the work of Darian Grubb, who will finish the 2007 schedule as crew chief of the No. 25 Chevrolet before moving into a senior competition role with Hendrick Motorsports.

"Dale Jr. and I are both excited to continue working together," said Eury, 34, who has been Earnhardt's crew chief or car chief for the majority of the driver's NASCAR career. "With the resources we'll have at Hendrick Motorsports, it's an opportunity to consistently run up front and be in title contention every year."

Grubb, 31, will coordinate the at-track engineering efforts of the Earnhardt and Mears teams with emphasis on supporting Eury's transition to Hendrick Motorsports and Mears' switch to the No. 5 Cup Series program.

Hendrick Motorsports is evaluating alternative numbers for the Earnhardt team, which currently uses the No. 25 on its Chevrolet race cars. A timetable for that announcement has not been set.
 

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More from the Silly Season. I was hoping Jr. would drive the 5 car though!!
 
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