Dillon to bring Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 back to Cup series
Austin Dillon will drive Richard Childress Racing’s No. 33 Sprint Cup car in the Daytona 500 in February.
|Childress will try to build the Austin Dillon brand on the back of Dale Earnhardt's popularity|
Which begs the question, when will he race the No. 3, the car number Dale Earnhardt made famous, in a Sprint Cup race?
Dillon, 22, has driven the No. 3 in the Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series, but taking it back to the Sprint Cup Series, where Earnhardt won seven championships and became a legend, is another matter. The famous car number is considered sacred to longtime Earnhardt fans, many whom don’t want to see it raced again.
But it could return as early as next year and it appears that with each passing day, team owner Richard Childress is leaning more toward bringing it back to Cup for the first time since Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500.
Childress indicated in June that if Dillon did drive a No. 3 in Cup, it wouldn’t be the stylized, slanted No. 3 made famous by Earnhardt. But Childress wouldn’t even rule that out Friday after announcing that Dillon, his grandson, would run the Daytona 500 next year.
“There was no consideration for the 500 (next year) but there is consideration that someday we may end up running a 3 in Cup with him,” Childress said. “It’s not going to be popular with everybody, but so many of the fans, after seeing it on this car, love it and ask for it back.
“It reminds them of seeing Dale. It brings back the memories of Dale. We haven’t (totally) made our mind up (on what style of 3).”