NASCAR: Richard Childress Racing bringing back iconic number

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Richard Childress Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Richard Childress Racing are planning to bring back an iconic number seldom used over the last few NASCAR Xfinity Series seasons.

In the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway last April, Richard Childress Racing fielded a car they hadn’t fielded in four years: the No. 3 Chevrolet.

The No. 3 Chevrolet was, of course, made famous by the late, great Dale Earnhardt when he competed for Richard Childress Racing in the Cup Series from 1984 until his fatal crash in February 2001 on the final lap of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet made its debut in the Xfinity Series, then known as the Busch Series, the following year at Daytona International Speedway, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. not only drove it but won in it to start the 2002 season.

Earnhardt made one more start in the car throughout the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway, then it wasn’t seen again until 2010.

At Talladega Superspeedway last year, the car was driven by Dale Jr.’s nephew, Jeffrey Earnhardt. He finished in a career-best second place and became the first Earnhardt to drive it since Dale Jr. brought it back at Daytona International Speedway in July 2010 — and won again.

After Dale Jr.’s win in 2010, the car didn’t run again until 2012, when it was added full-time and remained full-time through 2016 with the Dillon brothers, Austin (2012 and 2013) and Ty (2014 through 2016), behind the wheel for their grandfather’s team. It was fielded full-time again in 2017 and 2018, but for a rotation of drivers.

That car is set to return to Richard Childress Racing again in the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, and with Ty Dillon behind the wheel for five races.

The 30-year-old Welcome, North Carolina native is set to compete with sponsorship from Ferris Mowers, a leading commercial and industrial turf care equipment provider which originally partnered with him back in 2013 in dirt late models. Ferris is also set to sponsor Dillon’s No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet in select Cup Series races.

Dillon has a history driving the No. 3 Chevrolet, having run full-time from 2014 to 2016 and then part-time in 2017 and 2018. He won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014 en route to a fifth place finish in the championship standings, and he finished in a career-high third in the standings in 2015.

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Dillon’s full schedule for the 2023 Xfinity Series season hasn’t been confirmed, but he is set to make his first start in the season’s 11th race at Darlington Raceway in May.