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Lonestar Speedzone Question of the week...Black #3 back on the track t


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The BLACK #3 will be back on the Track this weekend in IOWA for the Truck Series... How do you feel about the Black #3 being driven by someone other than an Earnhardt or driven at all for that matter? Story is below...


It's an open forum show this week... let me know what you think.


Also, we will talk with Delana Harvick wife of Kevin Harvick and Co-Owner of KHI and Go LIVE to ATLANTA for the latest.


Give us a call at (210) 736-9760 or (800) 707-9760

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Childress grandson brings No. 3 back to national level

By David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

September 3, 2009


It runs in the family, like a last name or an heirloom watch. His grandfather ran the number for the final six years of his career as a driver on NASCAR's premier series, and used it to define a company that has since won six championships. His father ran it in an old Winston West event more than a decade ago. Now it's Austin Dillon's turn to carry the most famous number in stock-car racing back to the sport's national level for the first time in more than seven years.


Dillon, the grandson of championship car owner Richard Childress, will race a black No. 3 truck in Saturday's inaugural Camping World Truck Series event at Iowa Speedway. It's the first Truck start since 1999 for RCR, which won 20 races and a title on the circuit before the program was shut down to focus on Nationwide Series efforts.


Just as notably, it's the first national-level NASCAR race for an RCR vehicle bearing the No. 3 -- yes, the stylized No. 3 made famous by Dale Earnhardt -- since 2002, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. piloted a Nationwide Series car bearing the numeral in events at Daytona and Charlotte.


For Dillon, the 19-year-old son of RCR vice president for competition Mike Dillon, the number is nothing new. The freshman communications major at High Point University has used the number ever since he started racing, and in 2008 competed full-time on the Camping World East tour in a mostly-black No. 3 car that looked startlingly similar to the vehicle Earnhardt drove at the peak of his career. He doesn't expect Saturday's nationally-televised event at the 25,000-seat Iowa track to feel any differently.


"Every time I get in those race cars, I don't even pay attention to the number," Austin said. "The 3 is one of the biggest numbers in the sport. It will always be. When I get in the car, I'm still in a regular race car. But outside the car, I look at it as something really cool and special to my family, and just a privilege to be able to drive. But as soon as I step in there, it's just another race car. I'm having fun with it. I'm looking forward to seeing that black 3 out there for the Truck Series race."


Dillon is more focused on getting the kind of on-track results that would further his racing career. He and his father decided against spending another season on the Camping World East tour, where Dillon won once last year, and chose instead to pick certain races in certain series that would give him more experience at the kind of venues and in the kind of vehicles he would need to take the next step.


So far this year Dillon has run four races on the Nationwide tour, three in ARCA, and three in the Camping World East and West series combined, as well as a few dirt late model events.


"It's mostly for getting experience," Austin said. "We've really got to get the experience at the bigger tracks, and most of the tracks we ran this year were the big tracks like Michigan and Kentucky and things like that where we felt like we could get experience and run fast. We wanted to go places where you could run fast. We felt like the short tracks, we can go there and run pretty decent. Just getting used to these big tracks is going to be the toughest part for me."


Mike Dillon said RCR bought the truck several months ago from Kevin Harvick, who owns a Truck team and competes for Childress on the Sprint Cup tour. The Dillons believe the vehicle's boxier dimensions will help prepare Austin -- who has never made a Truck start -- for the current Cup car, as well as the forthcoming new Nationwide car


"Talking to other drivers, they think the truck is more like the [new Cup] car," Mike said. "And we think we'll see the [new] car in Nationwide in 2011, and we're just trying to get prepared for that."


Iowa, despite being less than a mile in length, is part of that process. Austin knows Iowa from five previous starts there in ARCA, Camping World East, or Nationwide races -- "It's like we're running for a track championship there or something," he joked -- and has tested his new Silverado truck at Rockingham Speedway.


But he also knows that the truck's number, something that's viewed as sacred to a generation of race fans raised on Earnhardt lore, will attract as much attention as its performance on the race track.


"We understand and respect everything about that number," Mike Dillon said. "We told him up front that he has to always remember the fans. The good thing about the truck is, the No. 3 won a championship with Mike Skinner. But we just have to be respectful to the fans about it."


Austin Dillon seems prepared for that, and said the reaction is usually positive.


"I've had a great response," he said. "Anyone who's ever come up to me and talked to me about it has had good responses toward the 3 and me running it. I've never been around anybody who's told me that I shouldn't be running it or anything. We're having fun with it right now. I think our fans are liking it. We'll just take it easy and take our time with the number."


But for how long? Pending his results the rest of this season and a successful search for a sponsor, Austin is hopeful for a full-time ride on the Truck circuit next year. Mike Dillon said RCR would likely field the vehicle. Austin wouldn't be opposed to taking the No. 3 with him. That would mean the number would be returned to regular competition in a national NASCAR series for the first time since Earnhardt's final season.


Whether that happens would ultimately be Childress' call.


"I think the number is a cool all-around number, and it's a number I've run my entire career," Dillon said. "My grandfather got to run it, and of course Dale got to run it. It's just a really cool, fun number to run. I'd love to be able to take it with me and keep moving up with it. We'll just see how everything goes. That's really my grandfather's decision. We'll wait and see."

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That number and color should be run. I dont think Sr would have wanted it retired. jmo





Childress introduced it, Earnhardt drove it...... Sorry he has passed, I love Jr. to death(Proud member of Jr. nation) Now let's race the #3.



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I agree, Ricky Rudd used that # before Earnhardt came back to Childress... Dale was 2 when he won the first title. 43 has continued to be used even tho by Petty but I would have retired that # a long time ago, even when #3 was still alive.

Never really understood this one, put the # on a car (or truck) and let's see what happens.

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