NASCAR: Austin Dillon Is Charging Forward, It’s Confidence

“I think more aggressiveness at the end of these races will help me,” Dillon declared.

“I think more aggressiveness at the end of these races will help me,” Dillon declared.

On Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Team Penske Ford, thoroughly dominated the Bank of America 500, leading 227 of 334 laps to capture the checkered flag and the “hall pass” bye to the Eliminator 8 round of the Sprint Cup Chase. Having struggled early in his career prior to joining Team Penske, Logano’s performance and post-race burnout celebration showcased the essential confidence that a Championship-contending race car driver requires.

Less visible but just as telltale, Austin Dillon, the young gun driver of the infamous #3 Chevy SS for Richard Childress Racing, was on fire this weekend with one of the best races of his Sprint Cup Career, bringing a 7th place showing home as the highest-finishing non-Chase driver. Dillon ran in the top 10 for much of the day and bested his two veteran teammates, including chaser Ryan Newman as well as Paul Menard.

Moreover, in the XFINITY Series support race on Friday, Dillon won both the pole and the race, completing the XFINITY Series sweep of both races at Charlotte this year. Apparently, the celebratory fireworks that grazed Dillon during pre-race ceremonies lit the proverbial fire under his seat while strapping into his car.

Critical to this weekend’s stand-out performance appears to be Dillon’s reborn confidence, which is something that Dillon seemed to lack in his debut year in the Sprint Cup series. “I think more aggressiveness at the end of these races will help me,” Dillon declared. “We need to be more confident in late-race restarts. We need to put ourselves in a better position to win some races.”

Dillon has shown the groomed talent of a gentlemanly racer, but NASCAR seems to demand a higher standard of aggressiveness and willingness to take risks on the track, sometimes stuffing your car nose in to create room for a pass where no hole may exist.

The turning point for Dillon seemed to be at Charlotte, not Dover.

The turning point for Dillon seemed to be at Charlotte, not Dover.

Dillon has had his past dust-ups with drivers such as Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, but has generally taken a middle of the road conciliatory stance. Part of this attitude is likely driven by the tutelage of his grandfather who owns the RCR team, thereby ensuring good relations with corporate sponsors and not make waves.

Furthermore, Dillon took ample criticism from many legacy fans, who consider the immortal #3 car number to be the property of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. These enthusiasts could not imagine that any driver would ever fill the seat of their iconic champion who was larger than life. To these stalwarts, the consensus was that Dillon had poached the #3, spoiled silly by his grandfather as a precocious protégé who had never to want for a ride or the best equipment. Like Logano early in his career, some considered Dillon to be the “young punk” on the block, an instigator without the street cred in the garage.

Yet, Dillon has paid his dues, having already competed in five seasons in NASCAR’s three top series. After winning Rookie of the Year in the Camping World Truck Series in 2010, Dillon won the Truck Series championship in 2011, and later the XFINITY Series Championship in 2013, also one year after earning that series’ Rookie of the Year title.

Last year in his Sprint Cup debut, Dillon struggled with the expectations of driving the notorious #3 for his grandfather’s team. His average finish of 18th over the course of that season was less than promising. Those struggles continued into the first half of this season.

As a result in June, RCR made a crew chief swap, with Richard “Slugger” Labbe taking over responsibilities for Dillon’s #3 team. With Labbe having almost 25 years of experience in the garage, his leadership for Dillon in the middle of the season offered a fresh look for a team that had underperformed.

Since his pairing with Labbe, Austin Dillon is showing not only speed in qualifying, but starting to put together a full set of results over the entire race.

Examining the eight recurring tracks (Charlotte, Dover, Loudon, Richmond, Bristol, Michigan, Pocono, and Daytona) that the Sprint Cup series is visiting for the second time this season, Dillon’s ability to finish stronger is most evident:

  • During the 1st half of the season, Dillon averaged a finish of 18th, similar to last year
  • Looking at the same eight tracks since July, Dillon’s average finish has improved to 14th, with three of those runs in the top 10

After running just one XFINITY Series event last year, Dillon also has ramped up his XFINITY schedule for the 2015 season to enhance his confidence to compete more doggedly. That approach has paid dividends as well, where Dillon has already won four of the 16 races in which he has competed this year. In contrast, Dillon’s 2013 XFINITY Series championship was unusual because he did not win any races that season, instead pointing his way to the championship.

When team owner Richard Childress announced the return of the #3 car to the NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, he declared “This one is going to be special.” Yet, devotees of the #3 RCR legacy are not a patient sort.

In carrying on his family’s tradition, Dillon has the opportunity to be the first driver in NASCAR history to win separate titles in all three of the national touring series if he can ever capture the Championship at the Sprint Cup level. While idealistic and likely not imminent, the combination of Dillon and Labbe are taking baby steps in that direction by showing top 10 speed that might prove worthy of a Chase qualifier bid next season.

By Ronald Bottano. Follow me on Twitter @rbottano and @motorsportsunplugged


It’s Likely, Very Likey, Much Scrutiny Will Befall Stewart, Dillon

Austin Dillon, the 2013 Nationwide Series champ, will enter his Sprint Cup rookie season driving a No. 3 Chevrolet for RCR.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In my opinion, the two drivers who are going to bear the most scrutiny – by far – this season are, first, a past champion who is returning from a major injury and, second, a young rookie who will compete with NASCAR’s most iconic number that is readily identified with its most iconic driver.

Tony Stewart shattered his right leg seven months ago in an accident in a Sprint Car race. The two-time champion missed 15 races as doctors rebuilt his leg and he fought a bout with infection. He underwent rigid rehabilitation.

“The good thing is with all of that our therapy has been going really well and in the last few weeks we’ve made huge gains,” said Stewart, whose four-car team includes drivers Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick. “I don’t know how we could be more prepared, honestly, than what we are right now.

“The perfect scenario, everything would be healed 100% and we wouldn’t be talking about it.  The bone is still about 65% healed right now.

“But as far as muscles and everything, the strength is coming much quicker than I thought it was going to be.”

Stewart admitted some internal changes were made to his Chevrolet to make it more comfortable for him. Fact is, inside the car is where he is most at ease.

“I’m actually more comfortable sitting in a car than I am laying in bed at the end of the day,” Stewart said. “Sitting in the race car the last couple weeks, getting everything done, it feels even more comfortable than the street car.”

Stewart’s first laps in his car came during Sprint Unlimited practice on Feb. 14. He said he felt a sense of joy and relief to be back on the track.

“I think once we got the relief of knowing we weren’t hurting any more it was just the joy of being out there again,” he said. “It didn’t feel like I had been gone for seven months.”

Stewart posted the fourth-fastest 10 consecutive lap average speed of 194.212 mph.

Tony Stewart spent months rehabilitating his broken leg. It is not fully healed, but he will drive again in 2014.

Stewart knows he’s going to be under the microscope. People will be curious to see how he races with an injury that is not quite healed They will wonder that, if at some point, his performance – or lack of it – will cause self-doubt.

“No, there are no gremlins, honestly no,” he said. “The reason for that is right off the bat the surgeon, the therapists, they’ve all said, ‘You’re going to have 100 percent recovery.’  With that, from day one, it took that doubt out.

“Instead of having the doubt, it’s a matter of when is it going to be 100 percent, how long is the pain going to stay, am I always going to have pain, questions like that.

“There is no doubt about being able to do what we love to do.”

Austin Dillon is 23-year old rookie who won the Nationwide Series championship last season.

He comes from excellent racing stock. His grandfather is team owner Richard Childress, for whom Dillon has raced for several years.

He will race for Childress on the Sprint Cup circuit in 2014. And he will do so in a No. 3 Chevrolet.

It will mark the first time the No. 3 has been a part of Sprint Cup racing since the death of Dale Earnhardt in 2001. It was Earnhardt who drove the No. 3 to glory for so many years.

That the number has returned does not sit well with many fans. They steadfastly believe the No. 3 is Earnhardt’s alone – and should never be raced again.

But that it is back is, partly, the result of careful planning between Childress and Dillon.

“I think both of us for years now, running the No. 3 in the last four years (in multiple NASCAR circuits), it kind of prepared us for any kind of question or opportunity that arises,” Dillon said. “The biggest thing is being respectful to all the family that is involved and also just, you know, taking this opportunity and hoping that fans are embracing it the right way.

“We’re trying to continue the legacy of the No. 3.  I think we’ve done a good job of that so far.”

Dillon is nobody’s fool. He knows that to continue the legacy of the No. 3 he has to perform well. It’s that simple. And there are those who want to see him fail simply because of his car number.

“I think Dale was so important in driving that number,” Dillon said. “He was the guy that made that number what it is today.

“But Dale Earnhardt is Dale Earnhardt not only because of the number, but also because he was a hero and created so many things for this sport.

“As for me, hopefully I can continue the legacy that it has and keep on moving on.”

Make no mistake Dillon will feel some pressure as he undergoes scrutiny. People will want to see if he can indeed continue the legacy of the No. 3.

It’s simply the way it is.

—- Dillon made a very auspicious and popular Sprint Cup debut when he won the pole in the No. 3 Chevrolet on Feb. 16. It offered some evidence, however slim, that Dillon may indeed be able to continue the legacy of the number used by Earnhardt.

—- Stewart, meanwhile, did not experience similar fate. He was involved in an eight-car crash in the Sprint Unlimited and finished 11thamong 18 starters. Stewart wrecked hard and there was concern he may have re-injured his leg. “No, there’s no pain,” Stewart said. “We’ll see in about an hour after the adrenalin wears off but so far, it feels good.”

2014: Earnhardt Jr. And The No. 3 Will Be Under Scrutiny

In 2014, Austin Dillon will race the No. 3 Chevrolet as the newest Sprint Cup driver for Richard Childress Racing.

I think that in 2014 more attention will be paid to all things Earnhardt than in a long time.

There are two reasons for this. First, the hopes of the “Junior Nation” have soared after the son of Dale Earnhardt earned a fifth-place points finish in 2013. No, he didn’t win but he was the highest finisher in the championship without a victory.

He had 22 top-10 finishes, which tied him with Kyle Busch with the most among the top five.

Such a performance has his many, many fans wondering if the coming season will be the one in which Dale Earnhardt Jr. achieves his shining moment.

Will he win? Is there – gulp – a championship in sight?

I say yes on both counts. More about that later.

Earnhardt Jr. will indeed be under scrutiny. But among his loyal fans and many others, perhaps not as much as Austin Dillon.

As you know Dillon, the 2013 Nationwide Series champion, will begin his NASCAR Sprint Cup career in 2014 with Richard Childress Racing.

Dillon will drive a Chevrolet with the white, slanted No. 3 – the number made famous, and so identified with, Dale Earnhardt.

The senior Earnhardt won seven championships and 76 races with the No. 3, driving for Rod Osterlund, Bud Moore and Childress.

He became a NASCAR icon who is held in the highest esteem to this day, nearly 13 years after his death in a crash at Daytona.

Not until now has the No. 3 been seen in NASCAR. And some people say it should stay that way.

Dillon drove for Childress, his grandfather, in the Nationwide Series in 2013 and won the championship.

To have anyone else use the number is an affront to the memory of one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers.

I understand that.

But I think Childress had, for a long time, plans for the number. Dillon is his grandson who moved up the competition ladder and reached the point, with his Nationwide title, where he proved he had the talent and skill to race at NASCAR’s highest level.

Which is exactly what Childress wanted to see. With NASCAR’s cooperation – the sanctioning body owns the No. 3 – he bestowed the number to his own flesh and blood, which was his right.

But there is this: Any driver – yes, any driver – that competes with the No. 3 is subject to intense scrutiny and, let’s face it, pressure to do well.

This includes Dillon. I think he has a huge challenge in 2014. Fair or not, he has to prove he can restore the No. 3 to competitiveness.

As a first-year driver he can’t be expected to pile up victories and pole positions. But with the No. 3 he has to race competitively and earn respect.

It’s not going to be easy. Dillon knows that. He also knows he has to show that his grandfather made the right choice.

Given that, Dillon and the No. 3 will certainly attract more than their share of attention in 2014.

As will Earnhardt Jr.

That he can do exceptionally well has already been established.

He seems to have established a bond with crew chief Steve Letarte that, in part, led to a strong performance this past season.

Although they didn’t win they could have. Earnhardt Jr. finished second five times including twice in the Chase.

Fact is, after Chicago, the first of 10 races in the Chase where Earnhardt Jr. finished 35th after a blown engine (only his third DNF of the season), the Hendrick Motorsports driver finished among the top 10 in eight of the last nine events.

Perhaps Earnhardt Jr.’s accomplishments in 2013 might have been more noteworthy had he not suffered the stumble at Chicago – or he had won a race.

Still, he offered ample evidence he can do well and, perhaps, in 2014 he will do even better.

Frankly, I would not be surprised. I think he has the momentum and confidence to make it happen.

He’ll be watched.

So will the No. 3.



Time To Let Nationwide Series Shine On Its Own

The postponed DuPont Pioneer 250 Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway may have started late, but it had plenty of action. Trevor Boys emerged as the winner in an exciting finish.

On a day in which Jimmie Johnson started on pole and dominated at Pocono, it was the young guns of the NASCAR Nationwide Series that stole the show in Iowa on a rare Sunday morning race.

After weather postponed the Nationwide event at Iowa Speedway, NASCAR made the call to run the race at 11 ET on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, rain fell again, delaying the race once more and pushing the conclusion well into the Sprint Cup Series’ time slot. The 250-lap event saw hard short-track racing with an old-fashioned side-by-side battle for the win in the closing laps. Two of the sport’s future stars – Trevor Bayne and Austin Dillon – raced hard, bent sheet metal, and put on quite the show in pursuit of the checkered flag.

However, with so many eyes glued to the Sprint Cup Series broadcast, one has to wonder just how many fans saw what ended up being the best NASCAR race of the day.

While the Nationwide race may have had the better action of the weekend, it is important to take a look at the reason behind the success.

With the series performing as a stand-alone event, only one Sprint Cup Series driver – Joey Logano – was slated to run the race. When weather forced the Penske Racing driver back to Pocono, the field was set with only Nationwide Series drivers for the first time all season.

Austin Dillon leads the field to the green flag at the start of the Nationwide Series race in Iowa. Dillon was a victory contender and raced hard against Boys for the win.

Knowing it was their time to shine, they took to the short track in Iowa for their chance to finally reach victory lane – something that has rarely happened in 2013.

Since the season-opening race at Daytona, Sprint Cup Series regulars have won nine of the first 12 events – Kyle Busch leads the series with six victories. In fact, each of the 12 races this season has been won by a driver with some Sprint Cup experience.

A double dipping driver is certainly not a recent trend in NASCAR. Drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin and Harry Gant often pulled double-duty with great success in the Nationwide Series.

In recent years, NASCAR eliminated the opportunity for Sprint Cup Series drivers to win the Nationwide Series championship by making them ineligible for points, but the time has come to do more.

Sunday’s Nationwide-only field put on one of the best races of the season, as well as up-staged the Sprint Cup event nearly 1,000 miles away.

While racing against the likes of Logano, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and others may help younger drivers learn from the best, allowing them to race on their own and contend for wins will further develop their fan base and experience within NASCAR – as well as rejuvenate a series in dire need of a boost.




Annett, Dillon – Nationwide Kids Emerging From Shadow Of Greatness

Austin Dillon, grandson of team owner Richard Childress, drives the iconic No. 3 car in the Nationwide Series and has become a winner this year. He's a past truck series champion.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Mark DeCotis is a veteran journalist who spent 37 years in the newspaper business before beginning a second career combining leisure and earning a living. 

He covered 26 Daytona 500s, numerous Pepsi/Coke Zero 400s, Busch/Nationwide, Trucks, more than a few Rolex 24s at Daytona, season finales at Homestead, Kevin Harvick’s emotional first win at Atlanta, IndyCar, sports car, NHRA, motorcycle, ATV and power boat racing.

His favorite race car driver interviews of all time were with 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force).


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – They sat erect and alert at the podium, their squared shoulders and “I’ve done this before” demeanor bearing up to the pressures born of the prestige of their car numbers and their car owners.

NASCAR Nationwide drivers – in alphabetical order since putting one before the other in any other measure would be unfair given any number of parameters – Michael Annett and Austin Dillon met with reporters at Daytona on Thursday.

It didn’t take long for the inquisition to arrive at the expectations inherent in their respective rides – Annett in the No. 43 raised to the stratosphere of NASCAR lore by now 75-year-old Richard Petty and Dillon in the No. 3, elevated beyond any mortal reckoning since it belonged the sport’s patron saint Dale Earnhardt.

From all outward appearances Annett and Dillon are handling things quite well.

Dillon, the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion won his first Nationwide race last Friday night and is second in points in the car owned by his grandfather Richard Childress – we’ll get to that dynamic later – who also was Earnhardt’s boss when the driver ran roughshod through the sport, winning seven championships at NASCAR’s elite level.

Only one other driver in NASCAR history has won seven championships – that being Petty – so the pairing as the speedway kicked off its annual mid-summer three-day show was not purely coincidental.

Michael Annett is a Nationwide driver, who, like Dillon, competes for a storied NASCAR competitor - Richard Petty. Both he and Dillon are now racing amid the shadows of greatness.

It was revealing and a bit of a throwback to racing’s earlier, and some would say better, days right down to the cowboy hat – courtesy of Charlie 1 Horse, the same company that supplies Petty’s iconic lids – worn by Dillon.

Although Dillon, 22, maintained it was more of a matter of he and his younger brother, 2011 ARCA series champion Ty Dillon – who has a full-time ride in the truck series in, yes, the No. 3 – just being boys, the fact that a high-profile NASCAR driver was appearing publicly without a sponsor’s logo adorning his head cover caught a few eyes.

For his part Annett, 26, had a career-best fourth-place finish at Kentucky and is seventh in points. While his future might not be as secure as Dillon’s, given the parade of drivers who have passed through the revolving door of Petty’s Cup operation and that his grandfather is not his boss, he maintained Petty made him feel “like you’re his kid or his grandkid.”

Stepping back, that is cause for a pause given that Petty lost his grandson Adam Petty in an accident at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2000, a void that will never, ever be filled.

To that end it was only natural to inquire of Dillon of how Childress managed the relationship of grandfather to grandson.

He answered from the heart, with humor.

“It’s pretty interesting if you listen to a radio conversation between my grandfather, my dad, myself, crew chief,” he said.

“It seems like it takes a win or running good to get them off the radio. Anytime I start slipping back or something goes wrong I hear more and more. So I do whatever I can to stay up front so I don’t have to hear from them.

“My grandfather, he does a good job of balancing that. He steps in when he sees something that could be going wrong and that’s when he kind of becomes the leader that he is.”

So, while praising his grandfather, Dillon also didn’t pass up a chance to give him a dig either, saying the reason Childress didn’t wear a cowboy hat like Petty, Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough and others from the rough and tumble era was that Childress had “pretty hair.”

That’s not the kind of remark one would expect to emanate from the more reserved Annett who naturally is still getting comfortable with Petty. But in the end it comes down to young kids hoping to emerge from shadows cast by giants.

And so far, so good.

The Iconic No. 3 Has Its Place In NASCAR Sprint Cup Competition

The "stylized" No. 3 that was attached to Dale Earnhardt for so many years has yet to return to NASCAR Sprint Cup after his death in 2001. Some fans say it should never be restored.

Few topics are more polarizing in NASCAR today than what Richard Childress should do with his No. 3 in the Sprint Cup Series.

Fueled by strong, emphatic emotion, the No. 3 can rarely be discussed without passion.

There are usually two camps:  One distinctly in favor of retiring the number from competition and one comfortable with its return to Sprint Cup.

Those vehemently against seeing the RCR No. 3 car in competition feel the number is synonymous with Dale Earnhardt. They believe that when Earnhardt died, at Daytona in 2001, the era of the No. 3 car ended.

Earnhardt made the No. 3 iconic.

To see the No. 3 on the track in first, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and, currently, the NASCAR Nationwide Series, is disturbing to many. They are uncomfortable with their hero’s number in competition when he is not the driver.

Like the No. 99 of the National Hockey League’s Wayne Gretzky or a long roster of numbers in Major League Baseball, there are legions of fans who feel Earnhardt’s No. 3 should be retired lest anybody forget him and his accomplishments.

They feel no driver is worthy of strapping into a race car with the number that so prominently identifies Earnhardt.

There are those fans, however, which feel differently. They may have reverence for Earnhardt, but understand that a number is not the driver.

Some fans are old-timers who have been NASCAR supporters for several decades. They recall a time before Earnhardt occupied the No. 3. Others are newer fans that may never have seen “The Intimidator” drive.

These fans either have a respect for the history of the sport and the fact that Earnhardt was a profoundly important part of it, or simply do not have an emotional attachment and do not feel the need to see the No. 3 retired.

My favorite part of being a columnist is being able to express my opinion openly.

I have made it clear that I had one favorite driver in all my years of watching NASCAR and that was Earnhardt. When he died, as part of my grieving process I walked away from the sport for many years.

I’ve watched programs about Earnhardt, talked about him and written about him a lot over the years and will continue to do so. He is a large part of my NASCAR fabric and I feel his absence daily.

My stance about the No. 3 in Cup competition may surprise some, but I think I can back up my position fairly.

While I consider writing and talking about NASCAR as my job, it is also my passion. I listen to podcasts, radio shows, and read myriad articles on the subject.

Recently, Richard Childress was heard on several programs discussing the future of the No. 3, the number he “owns” and has used since 1976.

Childress understands the emotional attachment people have with the “stylized No. 3” that Earnhardt ran. He is sensitive to the legion of fans who still worship Earnhardt and thus, by association, the No. 3.

But Childress has been doing an awful lot of interviews concerning grandson Austin Dillon’s use of the number and his team’s intentions when it enters the Cup Series.

The No. 3 Chevrolet, with Earnhardt aboard, began its NASCAR journey over three decades ago and for years featured Wrangler as the sponsor.

The No. 3 was brought back to NASCAR in 2009 after a hiatus following Earnhardt’s death – save the one time Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove it in a Nationwide race in 2002. Dillon started using the number in Iowa in the truck series and by 2010 ran the number full time on that circuit.

In 2010 Dillon won rookie of the year honors in the NCWTS. In 2011 he became the series champion.

This year Dillon is running in the Nationwide Series with the No. 3.

So why is Dillon granted permission to run the No. 3 in both the NCWTS and the NNS? It is because he is Childress’ grandson. NASCAR is rich with legacies. Among Childress’ legacies is a race team for his grandson.

When Childress was asked earlier this year if the No. 3 would ever be used by Dillon in Sprint Cup, he replied, “I never say never.”

Childress does emphasize that it is the “stylized No. 3” that everyone associates with Earnhardt.

In a different interview posted on the Jayski website, Childress reminisced: “Dale had his picture taken with Austin (and Ty Dillon) in victory lane in the 1998 Daytona 500.”

His point is that Earnhardt adored grandson Dillon and would be very proud of the driver he has become.

Later in the Jayski interview Childress recounted, “Many people drove the No. 3 car throughout history.”

Also quoted on the same Jayski program was a fantastic sound byte by Earnhardt Jr.

Eloquent and thoughtful, Earnhardt Jr. said, “(The No. 3 car) is like a bank where you deposit history.”

Clearly Earnhardt Jr. has no issue with the possibility of the No. 3 car running in Cup, especially with Dillon as the driver.

Earnhardt Jr. does admit Dillon would have a rough road to navigate in terms of fans’ reactions to the No. 3 in Cup, but, personally, he is fine with the situation.

My opinion is Dillon should run the No. 3 in the Sprint Cup Series. NASCAR has no history of retiring numbers.

Childress has created an amazing legacy for his grandson – grandsons when Ty is included – that he should be proud to carry into the next generation.

Even Earnhardt Jr., arguably the one man who could drive the No. 3 whom fans of all mindsets might possibly accept, feels Dillon has every right to drive the car bearing that number.

When Earnhardt was alive he began procuring a legacy for his own family in the form of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. That organization provided a ride for Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt Jr.’s grandfather, the late Ralph Earnhardt, drove the No. 8. That was the number fit for the grandson. That was Dale Jr.’s legacy, not the No. 3.

I believe Earnhardt would be fine should Dillon create a new chapter for the No. 3 car. What would upset Earnhardt is that his son doesn’t run the No. 8 – not that Childress’ grandson wants to drive the No. 3 in Cup.

Dillon is the only driver I can see making his Cup debut in a No. 3 car. Actually, I’m all for it and hope it happens in the near future.

That’s my opinion. I’m interested in yours.


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