Austin Dillon will drive the famed No. 3 car – the former number of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt – in the Sprint Cup Series next season, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
1. Dillon Has Quite the Racing Pedigree
Austin Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress, who owned Dale Earnhardt’s cars for the majority of his career. Dillon’s younger brother Ty races for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series.
2. Dillon Has Won Truck Series and Nationwide Series
The 23-year-old Lewisville, North Carolina, native won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011 and NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013.
3. Dillon Teaming Up With Crew Chief Gil Martin
Dillon will team up with crew chief Gil Martin, who led Kevin Harvick to six appearances in the Sprint Cup Chase.
4. No. 3 Car Hasn’t Been Used in Since Earnhardt’s Death
Dale Earnhardt used the No. 3 car to win six championships until his tragic death in 2001. The number hasn’t been used since then. Childress told FOX Sports that he believers Earnhardt would have approved of the decision to bring the number out of retirement.
Childress also said his grandson wanted the tremendous opportunity to race with Earnhardt’s former number.
I asked him, I said, ‘You sure this is what you want to do?’ and he said, ‘Yes. Everything I’ve ever driven has had a No. 3 on it. And that’s what I want to do — race this number in the Cup (series).
Watch the video above to see Dillon unveil the No. 3 car.
5. Reaction Mostly Positive Following Decision to Bring Back No. 3 Car
Childress told USA Today the fan reaction has been mostly positive in regards to the decision to bring the No. 3 car out of retirement.
For every five (negative) calls, we get 95 positive,” Childress said. “What we’re hoping to do is win those over with the class we’re going to bring the 3 back with.
Here’s what the revamped No. 3 car will look like, per Dillon’s Twitter page: