Tha Sports Junkies 101

What the 3 Car Winning Again Means for NASCAR



Memorial Day Weekend is the biggest weekend of the year for auto racing around the world. Formula 1 has the Monaco Grand Prix, IndyCar runs the Indianapolis 500, and NASCAR holds the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte. Sebastian Vettel won Monaco this year in a Ferrari, their first Monaco win since 2001. Takuma Sato then shocked the world by becoming the first Japanese winner in the 101st Indy 500. Lastly, Austin Dillon returned the legendary 3 car to NASCAR Victory Lane in Charlotte.

The 3 car was made famous by Dale Earnhardt and his Richard Childress Racing team. From 1984-2001, Earnhardt drove the 3 car to 6 championships and 66 wins in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Earnhardt made his mark in the hearts and minds of every fan at this time.

After Dale’s tragic passing in 2001, Richard Childress Racing retired the 3 car. They switched the number to 29, with rookie driver Kevin Harvick. Harvick and RCR had great success together, winning 23 races and contending for several championships. After Harvick’s departure from the team in 2014, the 3 car returned to the Cup Series. It was at the hands of Richard Childress’ grandson, Austin Dillon.

Dillon’s win marks the first victory for the 3 car at NASCAR’s highest level since October 2000 at Talladega. While Dillon’s success was not as immediate as Earnhardt’s, he more than proved himself capable of driving such an iconic number. He is a former champion in both the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. He earned his way into such a prestigious ride in the Cup Series. After 3 years of experience, Dillon won in his 133rd career start.

Due to Earnhardt’s immense success, the 3 car generated an enormous fan base. Since Dillon is now a Cup Series winner, a new face is on the 3 car’s legacy. The 3 car winning once again is great for the younger generation of fans who did not witness Earnhardt’s career. Dillon is one of many drivers currently in NASCAR’s youth movement. His personality and competitive fire make Dillon a very likable driver for many fans to cheer on.

It is with little doubt that Sunday’s win in the Coca Cola 600 by Austin Dillon will go down as a memorable moment from 2017. A member of the Childress family returning the 3 car to glory once again in North Carolina is a milestone for NASCAR history. I was more than thrilled to witness this amazing event in person, Dillon fought off one of the best ever in Jimmie Johnson to get it done.