My view of Dale Earnhardt and the #3 issue

by Michelle Lippold On Sat, Oct. 19, 2013

Photo Credit: TONY RANZE/Getty Images 1951-2001

I know this is going to cause a lot of flack and comments, but this is my opinion to which I am entitled to. So for those that disagree with me fine I understand, that’s your opinion and I have no grudge against that so, to each their own.

I realize that so many think the #3 should be out on the track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). I disagree and think the #3 should be retired out of respect to the man that made the number something more than just a number, Dale Earnhardt. I know that many are not going to understand this, as many new fans were little when he died and have no clue the kind of impact he had on NASCAR. He was NASCAR, he was the best driver to so many fans, to others he was the one to cheer against.

We avid fans know that the #3 was driven before him by other drivers and that Richard Childress owns the right to use that number however he wants. We also know that not even Richard Petty’s number has been retired, and we also know that Dale Jr has stated his consent, but what about us fans? Why do we not get a say? Dale made the number 3 more than a number, something no other driver will do and I dare say even Richard Petty is included in that category. Dale made that car and number a part of himself almost as if car, driver, and number were one unit that became the Intimidator. It was as if car and number were an extension of what he was on the track as a driver.

The day Dale died is the day the car and number for so many of us died too. I know people will say it’s time to bring it back etc, but how many of them watched their favorite driver/icon die in the car? Most of them saw it perhaps when they were young, many that disliked him will say it was just a number and can’t fathom how a number can come to mean so much to his fans, but it did, and it should rest with the man that made it famous. Why? Because any driver you put in it will never be seen as part of that number, it will always be seen by fans as Dale’s and no amount of time will change that.

I have nothing against RCR for wanting to use it but as a fan I don’t think you should but, realistically I know you will so as a fan honor Dale make it different. Does it have to be black and white? Can you make the #3 look different so it does not look like Dales? Compromise let us keep our memories in tact while you still use that number. Is that really asking too much? I don’t think so.

For those of you that will think this is something you don’t “get”, let’s pray you never find out what it feels like to lose your hero because that is the only way to understand what I am talking about.

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Displaying 23 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Sammy says:

    This is one awesome article post.Thanks Again. Will read on…

  2. Wilson says:

    I have been a race fan since my father took me to the fence to watch the baby blue 43 wiz by at Columbia track in the late sixties. Many changes in NASCAR and many drivers have come and gone. I have no problem with the 3 returning, RCR should have already done that with Harvick years ago and we wouldn’t have this conversation. What leaves the bad taste is grandpa doing it for his grandson. Say what you want no one is a fan of favoritism, especially in racing. Most continue to go on and on defending the Dillons talent, yet much still needs to be proven. It’s likely grandpa would have let the boys run the number anyway. As far as Childress, other than an owner he made no mark as a driver so the significance of running pop pops number is lost on everyone. It was Earnhardts number, period. And who cares was the remaining Earnhardts think? That appears to be a pr ploy to help fans swallow things easier. I agree with the author, if you run the three change its design. If not, promise Dillon will experience the hater phenomenon right out the box. If pop pop cared about the boy he would consider this. Run the three, no problems. Run Earnhardts three and enjoy the boos, smirks, criticism that is likely due to the Dillons naïveté and arrogance and pop pops continuing inability to manage what should have been on of the most successful racing teams in the sport. No excuse for Harvick not to have won a championship. Pop pop has been complacent until his grand kids came along. Then he robbed the kitty to ensure their success while Burton, Bowyer, Harvick and others have floundered many seasons. Although I was never the biggest Earnhardt fan, as with Harvick, I admired their guts and determination and was content to see RCR succeed. No more I assure if they run Earnhardts 3.

  3. jj says:

    Gosh, Roll Tide, my eyes got kinda weepy when I read your comments. Ya sure. There are all kinds of people who made the ultimate sacrifice and they didn’t turn up multi-millionaires.
    A lot of them are buried on foreign soils fighting for our freedom. Your analogy of heros is a little out of balance. If he did so much for making the sport safer, why did he die? If NA$CAR had done their job sooner, he would still be here. Sorry to be so blunt, but he didn’t make the sport and he didn’t make it safer.

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