My view of Dale Earnhardt and the #3 issueBy Michelle Lippold
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.