The number 3 car, once driven by the late, great Dale Earnhardt Sr., will be driven next season by Austin Dillon. Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress, who decided to give him the famous number.
Dillon will race the number 3 car in next year’s Sprint Cup Series. From ESPN,
“I know in my heart, today, as I sit here, Dale Earnhardt is smiling down,” Childress said at Wednesday’s unveiling. “He would want to see this 3. He didn’t want it to ever go away. But I felt it was the thing to do right after Daytona, and I know today that he’s accepting this highly. I knew him that well.”
The number hasn’t been used in a Sprint Cup race since Earnhardt’s untimely death in the season-opening Daytona 500 back in 2001.
But Dillon has been using it NASCAR national competition since 2009, when he made his Truck Series debut in the No. 3. He won the Truck championship in 2011 driving the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, and the Nationwide title this year in the same number.
Childress kept the number out of the Cup Series, though, intent on hanging on to it for the right driver.
“We held the number, I’ve been paying NASCAR for it throughout the years and Bill (France) Jr. told me ‘You know, if we’re ever challenged, we’ll have to let someone have that 3,’ ” Childress said. “But we weren’t, and I knew that the right opportunity would come. It would have to be an Earnhardt or one of the Childress family that we would put behind that.”
What do you think of Childress’ decision to give the number 3 car to his grandson? Leave a comment below.