It’s official. Austin Dillon will drive the No. 3 Chevrolet in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
This will mark the first time since 2001 that the No. 3 will be on the track in Sprint Cup competition. Dale Earnhardt last drove it in the 2001 Daytona 500 – his final race.
It was a hard decision for Richard Childress to make. And it has been a long time coming. But Childress says it is the right thing to do. He says fans have been asking when the No. 3 was coming back, and that now is the time.
But many feel that the No. 3 should be retired in honor of Dale Earnhardt. Never to be raced again.
For the record Dale Earnhardt Jr says he has no issue with the No. 3 returning. But he says he understands the importance of the number to Earnhardt fans.
No matter which side you come down on, there will be a little extra spark in the air when the flag waves for the 2014 Daytona 500 as the No. 3 comes down off of turn four to take the green.
How about you, which side are you on? Are you happy to see the No. 3 return, or would you like to see it retired?
Today, Monday April 29, 2013 is Dale Earnhardt Day. What is your favorite memory of Dale? Let us know in the comments below.
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Starting the Daytona 500 From the Back of the Field Will Be No Problem for Dale Jr
Dale Earnhardt Jr will start the Daytona 500 in the back of the pack even though he was fastest in qualifying with a pole winning speed of 186.089 mph. Following a crash involving Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr Earnhardt had to go to a backup car for the race and according to the NASCAR rulebook he must forfeit his top starting spot because of it.
“We were coming around three and four and some of the guys on the inside moved up into the top lane” according to Earnhardt. “Me and Jimmie checked up. We didn’t know if they were coming into our lane. We got run over from behind. Just a tough deal. The same old stuff that always kind of happens here.”
That doesn’t diminish Earnhardt’s chances to win the race one bit. His team has consistently made his car fast during practice and qualifying for the Daytona 500. And nit just fast, but fastest.
Dale Jr didn’t seem worried about dropping to the back with a new car. “We’ve got plenty of race cars,” said Dale Jr. ”I ain’t worrying about how fast we’ll be. We’ll be fine.
There is no reason to believe that the backup car will not be just as fast, if not faster, It will take a few laps for Earnhardt to work his way through traffic at the start of the race, but he will be at the front soon enough.
Earnhardt did not see a need to participate in the practice session to begin with given the fact he already had a fast car. But crew chief Steve Letarte put him on the track. “I didn’t feel good about being out there practicing,” said Earnhardt. “I didn’t think I needed to be out there practicing. I just had a bad feeling about it.”
Dale Jr seems pretty confident, but what do you think. Can he make it from last to first in this race?
Just a couple of quick notes as we get ready to kick off the 2011 NASCAR season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr was fastest in the first practice for the Bud Shootout posting an average speed just shy of 200 — 199.862 MPH.
SPEED is airing The Day: Remembering Earnhardt tonight at 7:30 PM ET. It has been 10 years since we lost him on that final lap. According to the SPEED website The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt takes viewers back to Earnhardt’s last day, from the pre-race ceremonies during which he gave wife Teresa and son Earnhardt, Jr. what would be a final hug on the starting grid before climbing into his black No. 3 Chevrolet, to the race, the fatal accident in turn four and the aftermath.
The drawing for starting positions in the Shootout is tonight, and the race is Saturday night. It’s time to go racing.
Chris Jenkins over at ThatsRacin wrote an interesting story about Kevin Harvick’s push to carry on Dale Earnhardt’s legacy as he has a legitimate shot to win a 7th Cup Championship for Richard Childress Racing on Sunday.
Harvick now admits that he wasn’t comfortable at first driving what everyone knew was a re-painted Dale Earnhardt race car that would forever be a Black No. 3 in the hearts of Dale’s fans.
“I embraced it zero in the beginning,” Harvick said Thursday, as drivers prepared for Sunday’s Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I wanted to change the color of the car, I wanted new sponsors. If he wore a white suit, I wanted a black suit. I wanted zero to do with it.”
Today Kevin Harvick feels a little different. Read the full story then come back here and tell us what you think.
First of all let me apologize for asking a tricky question like Who was the first man to win the Brickyard?
Now let me tell you the back story of where all this is going.
Jeff Gordon did in fact win the first Brickyard 400 on August 6, 1994. But the question was not who won the first one.
Dale Earnhardt won the second Brickyard 400 on August 5, 1995.
Earnhardt was making the TV talk show rounds to talk about the race the following week when he proudly proclaimed “I’m the first man to win that race.”
The host looked a little puzzled and asked Earnhardt about Jeff Gordon’s win the previous year. Dale simply flashed that sly trademark grin of his and said “Wonderboy?”
Dale was a master of intimidating his rivals both on and off the track, and the rivalry between Earnhardt and Gordon was about as hot as it gets at that time. One of the two had the car to beat almost every week.
Dale’s Wonderboy comment was just another of his calculated moves to gain a slight edge over Gordon.
Mike Bianchi over at The Orlando Sentinel wrote an article last week claiming that Jimmie Johnson is the next Dale Earnhardt.
Well Iâ€™ve got news for you Mr. Bianchi. There is no next Dale Earnhardt â€“ and there never will be. Dale Earnhardt was one of those men who only come around once in history.
Dale Earnhardt Jr is not the next Dale Earnhardt. Kyle Busch is not the next Dale Earnhardt. And Jimmie Johnson certainly is not the next Dale Earnhardt.
Mr. Bianchi goes on to say that â€œfor nearly a decade now, NASCAR fans have been waiting for the second coming of Dale Earnhardt.â€ Most true hard-core fans recognize that Dale cannot and will not ever be replaced on or off the track.
Is Jimmie Johnson the greatest thing NASCAR fans have seen since Dale Earnhardt? Thatâ€™s what Mr. Bianchi would have you believe. Johnson has a long, long way to go to prove that statement to most NASCAR fans.
According to Mr. Bianchi, â€œJohnson will win the championship at the end of the year.â€ That may happen, but even then Jimmie Johnson will be 2 championships behind Dale Earnhardt.
How many different crew chiefs did Dale Earnhardt win Championships with? Iâ€™d like to see how many races Jimmie Johnson would win without Chad Knaus.
And Jimmie Johnson will never be the man that Dale Earnhardt was off the track. Dale helped a lot of people in a lot of ways. Some like Wessa Miller you will hear about. Some you will never hear about.
Mr. Bianchi was wrong when he said that we â€œmight as well put the No. 3 on Jimmie Johnson’s car.â€ Johnson has not earned the right to drive that number.
What do you think? Is Jimmie Johnson the next Dale Earnhardt?
Photo Courtesy NASCAR Media
A celebration is under way today at Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated in Mooresville, North Carolina. This is the ninth annual Dale Earnhardt Day. Dale would be 59 today.
Dale Jr, Kelley, Kerry, Taylor and Teresa Earnhardt will be on hand for the ceremonies.
Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Teresa Earnhardt are going to unveil a special No. 3 Chevrolet that Dale Jr will drive at Daytona.
Also set to make its debut is a Dale Earnhardt Hall of Fame Chevy Camaro.
I hope youâ€™ll join me in saying Happy Birthday Dale!
Jimmy Spencer thinks he knows what is wrong with the No. 88 team.
Jimmy Spencer knows what is keeping Dale Earnhardt Jr out of Victory Lane. He knows why the 88 is not winning Championships and contending for wins.
Do you want to know what Jimmy Spencer said?
Spencer has a new show on SPEED called Whatâ€™s The Deal.
Last night on the show Jimmy Spencer said â€œI donâ€™t believe it is the 88 team. I believe it is Junior himself.â€
You can take that for what itâ€™s worth. It comes from a man with 2 career wins in NASCARâ€™s Cup Series.
Do you agree or disagree with Spencerâ€™s opinion? Post your thoughts here and Iâ€™ll forward them on to SPEED
What if Dale Earnhardt had Driven for Junior Johnson Instead of Richard Childress?
Rick Houston over at NASCAR.com asks Richard Childress a very important question.
How would Richard Childress Racing have turned out if Dale Earnhardt had raced for Junior Johnson instead of Childress?
â€œYouâ€™ll never know,â€ said Childress.â€ Dale was a huge player.â€
The article details how Junior Johnson had a deal with Earnhardt, and how Dale nearly went to drive for Johnson before sponsor conflicts came to a head.
Junior Johnson surely regrets the deal he brokered to send Earnhardt to the No. 3 car instead of a Junior Johnson car.
So do the sponsors who refused to back Earnhardt as his career was getting started.
Richard Childress would not have 6 NASCAR Championships without Dale Earnhardt.
But that street goes both ways. Earnhardt and Childress had a chemistry that would have never existed between Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson.
Dale Earnhardt would never have 7 NASCAR Championships without Richard Childress.