Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 returns to Daytona 500

By Kyle Lubelski,

On Friday came the announcement that team owner Richard Childress has arranged for the famous No. 3 of legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt to return with grandson Austin Dillon.

Newsday reports that Childress and Earnhardt had discussed the fate of No. 3, and the driver to use it, just before his death in the 2001 Daytona 500, and quoted Childress explaining, “It was not in the plans to put anyone in the car until the right person was there."

That person is grandson, and rookie, Austin Dillon. According to Sporting News, Dillon will drive one car each for sponsors Dow and Cheerios, with the slanted style No. 3. The Earnhardt family has mixed emotions about the reuse of the number, none more especially so than Martha Earnhardt, Dillon’s grandmother and the late Earnhardt’s mother.

“As long as they don’t make it look like the No. 3. If they painted it a different color … I can sort of deal with it, but I don’t want to see the black No. 3 just like Dale’s. But that’s not my decision.”

The No. 3 will return in next week’s Sprint Cup Series, the first appearance since its retirement in 2001.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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