I've been following NASCAR since I could barely walk and my favorite driver was always Dale Earnhardt. Watching him race around in the now famous black number 3 car is something I will never forget. Since his death no other driver has raced the number 3 in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. Dale Jr. has raced and won with the number 3 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and has stated in the past that he might like to race the car in the later stages of his Sprint Cup career. As much as I would love to see an Earnhardt behind the wheel of the number 3 car and totally dominating the track once more, I honestly don't think that Dale Earnhardt Jr. should ever race the number 3 car in Sprint Cup competition.
He's Not His Dad
There are so many critics that say Dale Jr. will never be as good as his dad was, though he never said he was or would be. While there is no need arguing that point, I think if Dale Jr. were to race the number 3 car then the comparisons would really kick in and the critics would be left with a free-for-all. His dad already casts a pretty big shadow, so there's no need to intensify it.
The number 3 car is not just an Earnhardt family number, but it's also a Childress family number. In fact, only one other driver has driven the number 3 car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series besides Dale Jr. since the elder Earnhardt died. That driver is Austin Dillon and is Richard Childress' grandson. Childress himself drove the number 3 car before hiring Earnhardt to drive it and eventually take it to the fame it has enjoyed. So, Dillon might just be the one to finally drive that number once more in the Sprint Cup Series.
Establishing His Own Legacy and Leaving Another Alone
Dale Jr. has made a name for himself in NASCAR and has built a legacy of his own. Regardless of how NASCAR fans feel about him, he has forged ahead and proven he can drive with the best of them, leaving lots of great memories for fans like me. First with the 8 car and now the 88 car and when I think of those two numbers I think of Dale Earnhardt Jr.
On the other hand, when I think of the number 3 car, I think of Dale Earnhardt and I always will. So, I'd rather see Dale Jr. stay in the 88 for the rest of his career and see him keep his own legacy intact while leaving his father's number and legacy alone, thus keeping it intact as well.
Jimmy Collins has been a loyal fan of NASCAR since he was a child attending races watching Dale Earnhardt run the famous number 3. He still attends numerous races each season and enjoys writing about NASCAR, particularly in regards to Dale Earnhardt as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- Dale Earnhardt
- NASCAR Nationwide Series