- 06/05/2012, 12:06PM ET
Outlaw... said 06/05, 12:06 PM
Should Richard Childress bring the number 3 out of retirement when his grandson, Austin Dillon makes the move to the Cup Series?
Even non NASCAR fans know how significant the number 3 is to NASCAR history. Dale Earnhardt Sr was one of the greatest of all time, and he died doing what he loved. While it was a tragedy and I lost my hero, I say when Austin Dillon comes to the Cup Series, it's time to unretire the number 3.
There are some iconic numbers in NASCAR history. The 43, 11, 21, 17, and all of them are still there. 3 is the only iconic number that isn't out there.
It's been 11 years since the tragedy, it's been long enough. Personally I didn't want Childress to retire the number to begin with. And there's no better choice than Austin Dillon to bring the number back.
He's Richard's grandson. He grew up around Dale Earnhardt and looked up to him as a kid. And throughout his racing career, his number has always been 3. From go karts to where he is now in the Nationwide Series, he has always driven the number 3.
I think it's time for Richard to bring back the number that made him famous.
mikeycook said 06/05, 05:41 PM
It seems to me that what you're saying is that no Nascar number should ever be retired. I think that's ridiculous and it's a slap in the face to the history of auto racing. 3 and 43 should be retired forever.
Virtual all major sports retire numbers, to honor their history and the greats of the sport. Having no retired numbers is basically the same as saying you don't honor your own history. Only the present matters.
And the WORST part is that Childress is giving it to his grandson. What has Austin Dillon done to deserve the number 3 other than come from the loins of a Childress. It would be like the Yankees taking Babe Ruth's number our of retirement and giving it to Steinbrenner's grandson, who had never played a day in the majors but was sparkling at AAA. That is the worst kind of nepotism and Dale Sr is probably rolling in his grave.
No wonder Dale Jr doesn't want the number. He's always had a hard time living in his father's shadow. But that hardly means Childress should give it to his grandson.
Is it really worth snubbing the memory of Nascar's greatest drivers just so Austin can sit in a black number 3 and pretend he's Dale Earnhardt Sr?
Outlaw... said 06/05, 06:04 PM
NASCAR can't retire numbers. The numbers belong to the team owners. And to say 43 should be retired is just dumb. Richard Petty, the driver that made the 43 famous OWNS Richard Petty Motor Sports, the team that runs the 43 car every week.
Richard Childress owns the number 3, in fact he was the one that retired it for a while, but before Dale Earnhardt was racing in NASCAR, Richard was driving the number 3 himself. When you think of Richard Childress Racing, you think of the 3.
In NASCAR, you typically try to honor a legend by continuing his legacy. It's not like Austin Dillon is some talentless punk that's only in the sport because of his connections. He and his brother have been highly thought of prospects since they were 14. Austin dominated the Truck Series last year, won the championship, his number was 3. This season he's sitting in the top 5 in nationwide standings, driving the 3.
Childress should continue the legacy of Dale Earnhardt by allowing his grandson to keep the number he's used since he was a kid looking up to the Intimidator.
mikeycook said 06/07, 01:09 PM
First of all, you're wrong about number ownership. NASCAR owns the numbers, though the teams are allowed to copyright certain aspects (like the font/color combination) and they do give the teams great latitude to use the numbers as they please.
Secondly, Childress isn't running #3 to continue the legacy of Earnhardt. He's doing it to make money, by making the public think his grandson is the next coming of Earnhardt because he drives a black #3. Same is true of #43, which technically Petty doesn't own any more since getting absorbed by GEM.
These teams can continue to run these cars out there, cannibalizing their own history to try and promote the present, but they shouldn't. Sports need their history to last and the responsibility of an organization like NASCAR is to ensure that history isn't killed by owners looking to make another quick buck.
When you ask a baseball fan who #3 was, they'll tell you Ruth. In Nascar, until recently, most people would've said Earnhardt. But they will forget now because someone else is in the drivers seat. It will diminish Earnhardt's legacy until he's just another driver.
Austin Dillon may be great, but he's no Petty or Earnhardt.
Outlaw... said 06/07, 05:01 PM
NASCAR owning the numbers must be a very recent change. When Richard Childress first started using the 33, he had to get permission from Andy Peatree to just use the number, even though the style of the number was nothing like the one Andy Peatree used for his defunct team.
And you make it sound like Austin Dillon driving the 3(he was using the 3 in go karts when Earnhardt Sr was still alive BTW) is going to make people forget about Dale Earnhardt. Fact of the matter is, Richard Petty is still talked about a lot despite a bunch of no names(John Andretti, Jeff Green, etc) driving his 43 ever since he retired.
Dale was inducted into the NASCAR HOF in it's inaugural class. When your legacy is as big as a guy like Earnhardt's or Petty's, you will never be forgotten by the fans of the sport.
Childress has every right to unretire the number that HE DROVE BEFORE EARNHARDT to let his grandson, who HAS USED THE NUMBER SINCE HE FIRST STARTED RACING use it.
It seems like you want to lump baseball and NASCAR into together. Hate to tell you, but the way of honoring a legend in NASCAR is a lot different than honoring a legend in baseball.
mikeycook said 06/11, 03:44 PM
Comparing Nascar and baseball is COMPLETELY plausible.
It doesn't matter that the league owns the numbers versus the teams in baseball. A baseball team has to be able to keep at least 40 numbers available at all times so they can have numbers for all of their 40 man roster. That's AFTER they have retired whatever numbers they want to retire. The Yankees have retired the most numbers in MLB, with 16, and they still have no problem having enough unis left to outfit the team. And they'll be fine for decades to come.
In Nascar, after #3 is unretired, there will be 49 numbers in use, out of a possible hundred (00-99). You're telling me that Nascar can't spare 2 numbers for Earnhardt and Petty? That's ridiculous. No one said they had to retire 50 numbers. In fact, those 2 are the only ones that make sense to me at the moment (though if someone added 2-3 more I wouldn't complain.)
As far as Childress having driven #3 prior to Earnhardt, that hardly matters. Bill Cerv had Mickey Mantle's number before Mantle played, but that didn't prevent it being retired.
AND WHY SHOULD CHILDRESS DRIVING IT FIRST MATTER, SINCE HE NEVER WON A RACE???!!!
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