On Friday, it was announced that Casey Mears would leave the #5 car at the end of the season. Now the search is on to find a driver to drive the #5 car in 2009. 2009 would be the third season in a row and the fourth time in ten years that Hendrick had to find a driver to drive the #5 car.
Terry Labonte drove the car until his semi-retirement in 2004.
Kyle Busch was great in the car when he drove it the three seasons that he was with Hendrick. Four wins, Rookie of the Year in 2005, to name a few. He was let go at the end of 2007 because of the signing of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Since the departure of Hendrick, Kyle Busch has driven his butt off at Joe Gibbs, winning five races and is currently first place in the points standing.
Casey Mears drove the #25 in 2007. He won the Coca Cola 600 in 2007. For 2008, he went over to the #5 when Dale Jr. took over the #25 (which became the #88).
Here's my top choices for replacements for the #5 car:
Mark Martin: Currently drives a few races in the Nationwide Series for the team. He is rumored to go full time for one more shot at the Cup or to share the ride with Brad Keselowski.
Tony Stewart: He has been rumored to go here. This would become a powerful team, if he does. He is also considering going to Haas to become part owner of that team.