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Dale Earnhardt’s mother has ‘mixed feelings’ about return of legendary No. 3

Feb 12, 2014, 10:34 PM EDT

Earnhardt No. 3

The mother of the late Dale Earnhardt has mixed emotions that the car number associated with her son will be returning to the Sprint Cup Series this season.

“I have mixed feelings because I was told that I would never see a number three on the race track after Dale died,” Martha Earnhardt said Wednesday in a nationally televised interview on Fox Sports 1.

After a 13-season absence, the No. 3 that Earnhardt made famous will be back on Cup race tracks this season with rookie Austin Dillon behind the wheel.

Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress, who was also the team owner for the car that Earnhardt drove to six of his seven Cup championships before being killed in a last lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500.

“I can understand it to a point,” Martha Earnhardt said. “I know it was Richard’s number when he drove and this is his grandson, and I understand that.”

But at the same time, Martha Earnhardt believes as long as the paint scheme of the No. 3 is different than the jet black GM Goodwrench-sponsored car that her son literally drove into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it’s fine with her.

“As long as they don’t make it look like the number three (that her son drove),” Martha Earnhardt said. “If they painted it a different color … I can sort of deal with it, but I don’t want to see the black number three just like Dale’s. But that’s not my decision.”

  1. pitpenguinsrulez - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Still not a fan of it. And I probably won’t ever be either.

  2. burm61 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    The thing that shocked me was when she said she was told there would never be another number 3 ran in the Cup series. I hope RC wasn’t the person that told her that but I doubt we will ever know.

    • sevenpenny - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:28 AM

      I don’t believe that Childress would have had the stones to do that and then bring the number back…

  3. dirtydrew - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:41 AM

    Should be retired to honor ” The Intimidator”. The car should not have the same black silver red white color scheme. Maybe green, or racing yellow. Show respect…don’t curse Austin Dillon. Karma is a mf’er.

    • sevenpenny - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:27 AM

      I believe that they “previewed” the color schemes that Dillon will be using this year… and it isn’t the same. They should be still viewable if searched for…

  4. onbucky96 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:43 AM

    Thus ends “Lap 3 For Heros” on Fox. Thank God.

    • indycarseries500 - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      They haven’t done that since 2001…

  5. kilonineoneone - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:45 AM

    No way the #3 should be on the track, very disgraceful.

  6. sevenpenny - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    Again and again this is brought up. Sure the late great Dale Earnhardt Sr. made the number famous. Here is the quirk in all of this… he didn’t own the number! Richard Childress owned the number at the time that Dale Sr. was sadly killed and he still owns it. It is up to him what he will do with that number and no one else.

    Childress even said him and Dale talked about what he would like to see happen once he was done racing. I forget what was said, still it isn’t like that eventuality wasn’t being talked about. I do like the fact that not just anyone is getting that number. Childress has said that only a family member or a member of Earnhardt’s would ever use that number. The only thing I would take issue with is if Childress were to use the same paint scheme that Dale Sr. used…. now that would be a slap in the face.

    Should the numbers of the other 29 race car drivers who died on track be retired too?? Including Dale Sr. 30 drivers have died since 1948…. Some of those that died were well known too…

  7. abninf - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    It’s just for marketing. NASCAR is going through a rough period, Dale Jr is never gonna win anything as long as he’s with Hendrick. He was their hope. If someone in the Earnhardt family can win with a 3 on the car then they think it can put more people in the stands.

    • ydousuk - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Childress’s Grandson is going to drive the car, not an Earnhardt family member.

  8. nflfan1985 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    It’s all about marketing. Just like changing “The Chase” to help ole “JR” win the championship. Nascar is desperate for him to win it. Sad days in Nascar.

  9. worknman24hours - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    It’s about money and it’s just as tasteless as how Ferrari treated Felipe Massa on the day he was to win the same Grand Prix where he almost lost his life one year earlier.

    Thanks NASCAR, for proving you simply don’t give a xxxx about the Earnhardt family or the fans.

    I guess being the one of the biggest legends of NASCAR really doesn’t means xxxx after all.

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