Driving No. 3, which has not been used since Dale Earnhardt’s fatal wreck at Daytona, will be Austin Dillon, the 23-year-old grandson of owner Richard Childress. For NASCAR fans, seeing the car in action may be emotional.
“Hopefully, they’re excited, they’re excited to see it out on the track,” Dillon told ESPN. “I know we are at RCR [Richard Childress Racing] and our whole family is. Like I said from the beginning, Dale Earnhardt is a one-in-a-lifetime guy that will never be created again. We just wanted to add to the legacy of that number and this is a good way to start. Hopefully we can get a few more wins with it.”
Childress has paid to retain the number over the years, with Dillon using the number as he has advanced through the levels of racing.
“I know in my heart, today, as I sit here, Dale Earnhardt is smiling down,” Childress said at the unveiling of the new No. 3 car in mid-December. “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.”