Dale Jr. doesn't plan to drive #3 after Daytona On Friday evening, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will slide through the window and into the seat of the #3 Wrangler Chevy for 300 miles of Nationwide Series racing at Daytona International Speedway. Until that moment, he cannot know how that car number on his door, and that blue and yellow paint before him on the hood, and memories of his father's win-at-all-costs attitude while driving them may affect him. Especially at that track. But he is fairly certain about one thing: July 2, 2010 will be the last time he drives a race car with the #3 on the door.
"I just want to go to the racetrack and run it once before I retire, and this will probably be it," he said. "After this, I'll probably never drive a car with a 3 on it again. I can pretty much say I'm 99% sure that will never happen again." This is a stark revelation, especially for long-suffering Earnhardt fans who dreamed Junior would close out his career in a black #3. Junior, too, once thought that was his destiny. No more. "It's not [my number] to take and use whenever I feel like using it," he said through a sheepish grin. "You just don't grab the car keys off the counter and go run out the door and haul down the road with your dad's car. I didn't do it when he was alive, and I won't do it now. I'm borrowing it once, and then maybe sometime down the road some kid will come up, and he'll have a connection to the 3 -- whether it's through my father or whether it's what his number's been since he was playing teeball. Whatever, you know, that will be his. It will be someone else's." The current Wrangler program is a dual initiative -- partly to honor Big E, partly out of necessity. Junior's sister, Kelley Earnhardt, Sprint Cup team owner and owner of the #3 trademark Richard Childress, and Teresa Earnhardt all played a role in putting the deal together, and wanted to tie it into Dale Earnhardt's Hall of Fame induction. More at ESPN
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