Marshall’s Madness: Who Cares About The No. 3 Returning?By Marshall Gabell
I know I am probably going to get a lot of negative comments on this, but come on race fans, why wouldn’t you want to see the No. 3 back on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit? Sure a “legend” drove that number, but that was 12 years ago. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is fine with it and I would bet that Dale Earnhardt Sr. would be fine with it also.
“I think it will be great,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “It was an iconic number for my father and it means a lot to a lot of his fans. This sport doesn’t really retire numbers, and all the numbers have history tied to them for several different reasons. The No. 3 is no different.”
Dale Earnhardt Sr. who lost his life back in the 2001 Daytona 500, was known as the Intimidator to the NASCAR community. Many race fans never expected that iconic No. 3 to return to the sport, but there is reasons why it should. Remember in 2011 when the Wood Brothers No. 21 had Trevor Bayne behind the wheel and he took it to victory lane? That was one of the hugest celebrations in NASCAR history! If that No. 3 went to victory lane in the 500 the fans would go crazy!
The Richard Childress Racing No. 3 is expected to be driven by Austin Dillion for the 2014 season (Austin’s grandfather is Richard Childress). Many race fans are upset that Austin will be driving the car because he isn’t a “legend” and he didn’t necessarily earn the ride. Dale Earnhardt Jr. grew up around the Childress family and watched Austin develop into the racer and knows he has talent. “He has shown he can be aggressive, and he will work real hard at every position,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Just watching him run laps and watching him in races, you see he is just a tough competitor”
“I think that for Austin … he drove the No. 3 in dirt racing and he drove the No. 3 in his Truck Series and Nationwide Series. He has earned the right to run that number as long as he wants,” Earnhardt Jr. said.
“[If] he wants to run it, I think it’s not really fair to deny somebody that opportunity. I’m OK with it. I know that might not be the way a lot of people feel or some people feel, but I’m sure it’s the minority that feels that way. I think that a lot of people will be telling Austin positive things about it.”
I don’t know about your race fans, but if Earnhardt Jr. is fine with it, then I’m fine with it. I can only hope that Dillion thrives in the No. 3 because I want the Intimidator’s car back in victory lane.