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Dale Earnhardt’s granddaughter takes on famous No. 3

Jun 23, 2013, 11:35 AM EDT

Karsyn Elledge, Jimmy Elledge AP

12-year-old Karsyn Elledge is set to race with the number that her grandfather – the late NASCAR legend, Dale Earnhardt – made famous. The eighth-grader will drive a Nickelodeon-backed No. 3 Mini Outlaw sprint car at tracks across the West Coast this summer.

Car-wise, it may be the most unique setting that the No. 3 has had in some time, as it sits on a primarily pink machine that features multiple images of Spongebob Squarepants character Sandy Cheeks. But it should also be noted that her grandfather, who became a simultaneously beloved and feared sight in his black No. 3 Chevrolet, drove a pink car in the early stages of his own career as well.

The move to race on the West Coast comes after she became the driver to beat at her local short track in North Carolina, which led to her father, former Cup crew chief Jimmy Elledge, deciding to give Karsyn a different challenge.

”I figured out here, the competition level is so much higher,” Jimmy Elledge told the Associated Press. ”I figured if we could get her out here to compete in this class at the race tracks where [Nationwide Series drivers] Kyle Larson and Brad Sweet and a lot of those boys have competed, we can expose her to higher levels.”

Now Karsyn – who considers Danica Patrick as her favorite driver – is preparing to continue the No. 3’s considerable legacy in racing.

“I definitely am proud of the No. 3,” she told NASCAR.com. “I didn’t get to witness what went on with this number, but I’ve only heard how great it was and I’m excited to carry on.”

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