Skip to content

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

Dec 11, 2013, 12:44 PM EDT

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. Williams drivers hopeful of points in spite of poor Monaco GP qualifying

    May 23, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 21:  Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams drives during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas limped to their worst qualifying results of the season in Monaco.

  2. Will Power: “It’s the first time I feel I have a shot at winning” Indianapolis 500

    May 23, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    Indianapolis 500 - Coors Light Carb Day Getty Images

    Team Penske credits an oval-whelming improvement during his 2014 championship season.

  3. Lack of rhythm costs Rosberg in battle for pole in Monaco

    May 23, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's German driver Nico Rosberg  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Rosberg falls short in his bid for a third successive Monaco GP pole position.

  4. The best news of the Indy weekend: Hinchcliffe posts photo of him walking

    May 23, 2015, 10:08 AM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe James Hinchcliffe

    Hinchcliffe, in a hospital gown, up and walking, in utterly fantastic news.

  5. Hamilton delighted with “incredibly special” Monaco pole

    May 23, 2015, 9:34 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton gestures as he celebrates  taking the pole position in the parc fermee after the qualifying session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / POOL / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Despite having 42 pole positions to his name before today, Lewis Hamilton had never had one in Monaco – until now, that is.

  6. Hamilton storms to first Monaco GP pole position

    May 23, 2015, 9:06 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton rallies to claim pole position for the first time in Monaco.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Monaco GP qualifying on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET

    May 23, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing drives during final practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After Sebastian Vettel finished fastest in practice, can Ferrari take the fight to Mercedes for pole position today?

  8. Formula E: Jarno Trulli claims pole for Berlin ePrix

    May 23, 2015, 7:02 AM EDT

    A Formula E Trulli driver Jarno Trulli prepares to take part in the first pratice session in Punta del Este, Uruguay on December 13, 2014. Uruguay will host the third race of the inaugural Formula-E electric car race championship on December 13.  AFP PHOTO / PABLO PORCIUNCULA        (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Italian driver storms to his first pole position in the series ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.

  9. Vettel fastest for Ferrari in final practice for Monaco GP

    May 23, 2015, 6:04 AM EDT

    Scuderia Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel  drives during the third practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Vettel storms to P1, throwing Ferrari’s hat into the ring for pole position later today.

  10. WATCH LIVE: FP3 for the Monaco Grand Prix on Live Extra from 5am ET

    May 23, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT

    Technicians work as  Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton  sits in his car in the pits during the second practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 21, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET        (Photo credit should read JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After Thursday’s washout, FP3 becomes all the more important in Monaco.

  11. Vautier describes his “rollercoaster of emotions” throughout month of May

    May 22, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Tristan Vautier recaps a roller coaster month of May, where he’ll have a last-minute opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing.

  12. GP2: Vandoorne edges out Rossi for Monaco win

    May 22, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    A third straight feature race win for Stoffel Vandoorne sees him extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

  13. Harvey emerges victorious from Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Photo, IMS Photography, LLC Photo, IMS Photography, LLC

    Harvey scores the win in Indy Lights’ biggest race of the year.

  14. Fernley: F1 Strategy Group not fit for purpose

    May 22, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on March 27, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Getty Images

    Force India’s deputy team principal lashes out at the F1 Strategy Group, calls for a return to autocratic rule by the FIA and the F1 Group.

  15. FIA invites bids for Formula 1 tire supply from 2017

    May 22, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    A Pirelli team member prepares tyres and rims in the paddock at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 21, 2014 ahead of the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix.  AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINI        (Photo credit should read Tom Gandolfini/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bids to supply tires to F1 upon the next change to the technical regulations now being taken.

  16. IndyCar: Carb Day 2015 rolling notebook (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT

    150522willpower Getty Images

    Notes as they develop from the ground in Indianapolis for Carb Day for the 99th Indianapolis 500.

  17. Jules Bianchi’s condition “stagnant” according to father Philippe

    May 22, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 05: Jules Bianchi of France and Marussia arrives for the drivers' parade prior to the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 5, 2014 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Jiri Krenek/isifa/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bianchi remains in a coma in French hospital after sustaining severe head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

  18. Chip Ganassi lobbying for IndyCar schedule changes

    May 22, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT

    Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon

    The team owner would like the season’s calendar expanded.

  19. WATCH LIVE: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN, Live Extra

    May 22, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Helio Castroneves after this past Sunday's first day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. AP

    Watch Carb Day IndyCar and Indy Lights coverage, from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.