Austin Dillon Claims Poll at Daytona 500 in Grandfather’s No. 3 Car
No driver has piloted the No.3 car in NASCAR since 2001, when “The Intimidator” Dale Earnhardt experienced a fatal crash on the final lap of the race. Team owner Richard Childress honored Earnhardt’s memory by essentially retiring the number, until Austin Dillon, Earnhardt’s grandson, was ready to race in the Sprint Cup Series 13 years later.
Dillon honored his grandfather this week by recording the fastest lap time leading up to the Daytona 500 and winning pole position in the No. 3 car, which flaunts a very similar paint scheme to the one Earnhardt used to drive.
Childress insists that Earnhardt gave his blessing for Dillon to use the No. 3 car if he ever made it to the cup, and Dillon is excited to do his grandfather – and his number – proud.
“Everybody wants to see this number perform well, and that’s what my goals are,” said Dillon. “I love getting in that race car and driving it. I think once we get through some of these races here at the beginning of the year, everything will sink in and I’ll get comfortable and be able to have some fun.”
How do you feel about the iconic No. 3 car being back in NASCAR at the highest level? Share your thoughts in the comments below!