HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. supports the return of his father's iconic No. 3 to the Sprint Cup Series.
The number, painted on the side of Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s black Chevrolet for six of his seven Cup championships under team owner Richard Childress, hasn't been run in a Cup race since Earnhardt's death in the 2001 Daytona 500.
For the past two seasons, Austin Dillon, grandson of Childress, has raced the No. 3 in the Camping World Truck Series. Next year, Dillon will take the No. 3 to the Nationwide Series, with expectations that he will move to the Cup Series within the next couple of seasons.
Asked for his thoughts on Dillon potentially driving the No. 3 in the Cup Series, Earnhardt Jr. said he's all for it.
"The number is sort of like a bank you just kind of deposit history into," Junior said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "It don't really belong to any individual.
"[Dillon] kind of had to know that, when he first started to run that number, if he got this far in the deal he would have to cross a few bridges like that," Earnhardt continued. "That was a tough decision, I guess, at first – to start running the number for him, knowing what kind of pressure he might face down the road. But I think it would be fine with me for him to do that. It's gotta get back on the race track at some point. It just can't be gone forever."
- Richard Childress