Skip to content

Austin Dillon officially confirmed in RCR’s No. 3 for Sprint Cup

Dec 11, 2013, 12:44 PM EST

Ford EcoBoost 300 - Practice Getty Images

NASCAR’s worst-kept secret is finally official. Austin Dillon will move up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2014 with Richard Childress Racing, and he’s bringing back the No. 3 to Cup for the first time since 2001.

No driver – not even Dale Earnhardt Jr. – has raced with the No. 3 in Cup since Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s fatal accident in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Still, the majority of this morning’s press conference to confirm the news to say that after 13 years, it was time.

“I know in my heart that Dale Earnhardt is smiling down,” Childress said.

Childress has held onto the number rights for the No. 3 since 2001, but hasn’t been challenged on its use. Only family will have the opportunity to race it in NASCAR’s top level, Childress explained.

“We held the number. I’ve been paying NASCAR for it. Bill (France) Jr. said we may have to give it up if someone wanted it, but we weren’t challenged,” Childress said. “It would have to be an Earnhardt or one of the Childress family that we’d put in the 3. Unless I get Jeffrey Earnhardt, it won’t be in Trucks. For Austin to go out and do what he’s did with that number proves it’s time. The first time I put out the idea of running the 3, support was around 80-85 percent, then after a day, it went to 90. It was time. It was Austin’s choice.”

Dillon, too, understands the significance and heritage of running the 3. He has the opportunity both to create new memories and rekindle old ones.

“It’s a huge responsibility,” he said. “I’ve been put in by my grandfather, and he’s been great to push me in right direction and handle things the right now. Everyone knows who made this number famous. We feel like, with bringing it back, and working with RCR, it is going to be special. I feel fortunate, and I want to run well. I want to set high goals and maintain those.”

Dillon, 23, replaces Kevin Harvick, as Harvick leaves RCR after 13 years to move onto Stewart-Haas Racing. With the driver change comes the number change, back to 3 from the 29 Harvick ran for the entirety of his career there. Dillon will work with crew chief Gil Martin, who said he felt “a little bit of rejuvenation” with this news.

Dillon made sure to ask the right people, from Earnhardt Jr. through to RCR veterans like Danny “Chocolate” Myers and J.R. Rhodes, for their thoughts and approval. He earned it.

Alas, Dillon enters the seat as a champion. He won the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, despite not winning a race, and also took home the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title. In 13 Sprint Cup starts, Dillon has a best finish of 11th at Michigan in June 2013 in a fourth RCR car.

Dow Chemical and Cheerios will split the role of primary sponsor. Dow has been involved with many of NASCAR’s products, but not directly as a primary sponsor. Cheerios enters its eighth year with RCR in 2014, and 17th in the sport in total.

Childress also confirmed Brian Scott, Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan will run in the team’s three-car Nationwide program with all entries full-time. RCR will not field a truck in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and its equipment has been sold to Gallagher Motorsports.

Childress later recalled a story about how Austin wanted the 3 to begin with, when he and Ty were first growing up.

“When Ty called me and said, ‘We want to go racing,’ that was the most expensive call I’ve ever had,” Childress joked. “When I asked what number he wanted Ty said, ‘I want the number 2, ’cause my dad drove it.’ I asked, Austin, he says ‘I want the number 3.’ I say, ‘Austin, you know it’s Dale’s number.’ He knew it then. It made me proud.”

source:

Photo Credit: Richard Childress Racing

Latest Posts
  1. Straight No Chaser to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at 2015 Indy 500 (VIDEO)

    Dec 22, 2014, 6:02 PM EST

    Credit: LeAnn Mueller Credit: LeAnn Mueller

    The big-name a cappella group will carry on one of the 500’s greatest traditions next May.

  2. Ferrari chairman expects another tough season in 2015

    Dec 22, 2014, 5:22 PM EST

    Italy Ferrari Montezemolo Out AP

    Sergio Marchionne: “I think 2015 is going to be a reconstitution year.”

  3. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 10 – Jimmie Johnson falls short of seventh championship

    Dec 22, 2014, 4:50 PM EST

    (Jason Merritt/Getty Images for dcp) Getty Images

    Jimmie Johnson not only fell short of his seventh Sprint Cup championship in 2014, he also recorded the worst single-season finish in his Cup career.

  4. Sale deadline extended for dormant Nashville Superspeedway

    Dec 22, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Firestone Indy 200 Getty Images

    1.33-mile concrete oval outside the Music City has not hosted major auto racing since 2011.

  5. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 24 Martin Truex Jr.

    Dec 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Truex’s first year with Furniture Row Racing was largely disappointing.

  6. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 23 Marcos Ambrose

    Dec 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Camping World RV Sales 301 - Practice Getty Images

    Ambrose narrowly missed clinching a Chase berth after his epic battle at the Glen with A.J. Allmendinger.

  7. MRTI Entry List update before the Christmas holiday

    Dec 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    Photo via @IndyLights Photo via @IndyLights

    A quick roundup of who’s where at the moment in Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000.

  8. Scot Elkins will join Pro Mazda/USF2000 as Race Director

    Dec 22, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

    MazdaRoadToIndy

    IMSA’s Scot Elkins joins MRTI as race director.

  9. Carl Edwards: “I plan on winning 10 races and the championship”

    Dec 22, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    EdwardsP9 Getty Images

    In interview, Carl Edwards sets some high goals for himself in first year with JGR.

  10. NASCAR: Jeremy Bullins promoted to Wood Brothers crew chief

    Dec 22, 2014, 9:29 AM EST

    Bullins Getty Images

    Bullins up to the Cup level as crew chief of Blaney’s No. 21.

  11. NASCAR: Dale Jr. expects even more performance in 2015

    Dec 21, 2014, 8:00 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Junior speaks highly, already, of new crew chief Greg Ives.

  12. Sutil rips F1’s pay driver situation

    Dec 21, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-BRA-F1-PRESSER-SUTIL Getty Images

    Ex-Sauber driver Adrian Sutil calls out F1 pay-driver situation, although it could just be a case of sour grapes.

  13. WEC: 2015 sporting regulations for series released by FIA

    Dec 21, 2014, 5:30 PM EST

    AUTO-FRA-ENDURANCE-LE MANS Getty Images

    A number of tweaks are coming for the global sports car racing series.

  14. Late wreck ends hope of top-5 finish for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in dirt track race

    Dec 21, 2014, 4:58 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Going back to his dirt track roots, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished eighth in the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center in DuQuoin, Ill., on Saturday.

  15. Another week, another driver wedding; this time, it’s Ty Dillon’s turn (PHOTOS)

    Dec 21, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    Lilly Diabetes 250 Getty Images

    The XFINITY Series driver for Richard Childress Racing marries girlfriend Haley Carey.

  16. UPDATED — Highway to Hell(cat): Owner wrecks 707-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat one hour after buying it

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:54 PM EST

    (Photo courtesy Facebook via MotorAuthority.com) (Photo courtesy Facebook via MotorAuthority.com)

    With just 40 less horsepower than a 2015 Sprint Cup car, the new Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is VERY powerful. One new Hellcat owner, who bought it just one hour earlier, found out the hard way about all that power.

  17. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 10 – Kurt Busch and “The Double”

    Dec 21, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Kurt Busch AP

    The Outlaw takes on the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

  18. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 22 Brian Vickers

    Dec 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks - Practice Getty Images

    Vickers made his full-time return to Sprint Cup action in 2014, which in itself was a victory.

  19. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 21 Paul Menard

    Dec 21, 2014, 12:26 PM EST

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Paul Menard had a decent season at times in 2014, but fell short of making the Chase in the final qualifying race.

Video from NASCAR America

NASCAR America's 2014 blooper reel
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Vickers (2277)
  2. K. Busch (2118)
  3. C. Coughlin (1983)
  4. D. Armstrong (1963)
  5. L. Cassill (1830)