Thursday, April 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Famed No. 3 car makes emphatic return at Daytona

By
February 19, 2014 | Leave Comment

Austin Dillion

Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race pole winner Austin Dillon poses by his car after his qualifying run at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Richard Childress pumped his fist above his head, emphatically celebrating his grandson’s latest accomplishment.

It was a rare show of emotion from the usually stoic team owner.

Then again, this moment was far from normal. Austin Dillon took the iconic No. 3 — the number the late Dale Earnhardt drove to 67 wins and six of his seven championships — out of pseudo-retirement and put it back atop the scoring tower at Daytona International Speedway.

Dillon might as well have grabbed the largest Earnhardt tribute flag ever made and waved it all around NASCAR’s most famous track.

“The 3 is special to all of us,” Childress said. “The family, the Earnhardt family, to every one of us, but I think it’s special because Austin, our family, is in the car.”

Dillon will be the talk of the Daytona — and of all of racing — for the next six days after winning the pole for Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500.

The famed number already was in the spotlight as Childress decided to put it back on track in the Sprint Cup Series for the first time since his driver and friend’s fatal accident in the 2001 Daytona 500. Dillon made its return an emphatic one.

“The legend of Dale has lived on for a long time and is going to continue to live on forever,” Dillon said before his pole-sitting run. “Dale Earnhardt is not just famous because of the number. He is Dale Earnhardt. He was a hero in everybody’s mind, including myself. … That’s the coolest thing about everything that’s going on.”

Fans still lamenting the loss of Earnhardt may have mixed emotions about seeing another driver in the No. 3.

But those closest to the “Intimidator” welcomed its return.

“I think it’s great for Austin and Richard, grandson and grandfather being able to come together and doing something like that with a number that’s been in their family for so many years,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “It has a lot of history inside their family. … I’m happy for them.

“Once we get out on the racetrack … you won’t even think about the 3 on the side. That will sort of become normal. I’m glad that it’s back. It was going to come back. … It’s a good situation that I can be comfortable with, and I’m happy for that because it could have just as easily been a difficult situation that I wouldn’t have been comfortable with.”

Childress kept the stylized version of the No. 3, but tweaked the color scheme. He switched it from a white number with red trimming to a red number with black trimming.

That was enough to satisfy Dale Sr.’s mother, Martha, who had been uneasy about seeing it back on the track.

“I know it was Richard’s number when he drove and this is his grandson, and I understand that,” Martha Earnhardt said in an interview with Fox Sports 1. “As long as they don’t make it look like the No. 3. If they painted it a different color, I can sort of deal with it, but I don’t want to see the black No. 3 there just like Dale’s.”

Others just knew it was time.

And NASCAR certainly was onboard with it. Industry leaders have promoted the return of the No. 3 as one of the biggest story lines heading into the season.

“I think everybody had reservations at one point in time,” former Earnhardt crew member Danny “Chocolate” Myers said. “Then you think about it and grow into it and realize it’s just time.”

Myers drove from North Carolina to Daytona Beach on Sunday, listening to qualifying on the radio and going through the tear-filled euphoria of Dillon’s 196 mph run to the nervous wait afterward, making sure it held up. It did, and Myers arrived just in time to hug Dillon in Victory Lane.

“I had my moment, I won’t lie to you,” Myers said. “It’s a big deal for me, and the 3′s part of it.

“But this is a kid I got to see grow up. I’m a Dale Jr. fan, not because he’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and not because he’s Dale Earnhardt’s son. But because he’s a kid I got to see grow up. It’s the same with Austin, and that’s means a lot to it. To do this today, it’s a big, big deal.”

Engine builder Danny Lawrence explained why better than everyone else.

“It’s no secret that when we lost Dale, we rode an adrenaline for a little while there,” said Lawrence, who started with the company before the 1998 Daytona 500. “When you’ve got a guy that’s driving for you that’s your friend and to me the best race car driver out there, it’s just about impossible to recover from that.”

But Dillon’s given the team a shot in the arm, especially some relatively lean years.

The next step is getting the No. 3 back in Victory Lane. If that happens, look for Childress to really let loose in celebration.

“You know, the emotion will fly if the 3 rolls in there on Sunday,” he said. “I won’t hold it back, I promise.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Travis lines up 2 days of aviation excellence

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Congressman talks Travis, water

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Appreciate how good we have it now

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
 
Dixon May Fair has deals on advance tickets

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Garamendi talks love, pro football and Peace Corps

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Author to sign books at Vacaville Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Kroc Center women schedule inaugural Taster Tea

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Theme park welcomes seal pup

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Docents to lead paddling tour in marsh

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Juneteenth committee extends vendors, exhibitors deadline

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Congressional Art Competition is back

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Spilled tomato juice case set for trial

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Murder charge for Vallejo man in head-on crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California bill reignites affirmative action fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Andy Lopez protest leads to school campus lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Navy Cross bestowed on heroic Marine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Bashtag: NYPD Twitter campaign backfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Soldier convicted in WikiLeaks case gets new name

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

US weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

First lady announces one-stop job site for vets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Lawyer: US man held in Cuba seeks to go home soon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Captain who left doomed ferry had 40 years at sea

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Russian social media CEO quits, flees country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Amid Russia warning, Ukraine is in a security bind

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
State senators get ethics training after scandals

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 4 Comments

.

Opinion

Some Earth Day boos and cheers

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

 
Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

Be the first and give specifics

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
What we can do about crime

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

Castro at odds with mentor on deportations

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

When Joe’s mad at me, he also ignores my 7-year-old son

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for April 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Jodie Foster weds artist Alexandra Hedison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Singer Chris Brown’s DC trial delayed for months

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Performing dogs go big after $1 million TV prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Girls soccer update: Armijo, Vanden on way to playoffs

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Mustangs swim to sweep of Indians

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors, Clippers to meet in Oakland for Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sharks confident with chance to sweep LA Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Perez helps Rangers sweep A’s with 3-0 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Party a century in the making for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

A’s reject 10-year Coliseum lease offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prep softball: Vanden rolls to 14-0 win over Fairfield

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prep badminton: Unbeaten Mustangs cruise past Crushers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prep boys golf: Vikings suffer SCAC loss to Panthers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Sanchez’s slam in 11th helps Giants beat Rox 12-10

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Prep track: Armijo girls get win in MEL 4-way meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Emmert supports more efficient, effective NCAA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Phelps having fun in his return to swimming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Suns’ Dragic honored as NBA’s Most Improved Player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Oldest living ex-MLB player dies in Cuba at 102

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Business

Wellness programs grow more popular with employers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

Sales of new US homes plunge 14.5 percent in March

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Buffett disapproves of Coca-Cola’s pay plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Amazon snares classic shows in deal with HBO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US stocks edge lower after a six-day rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Phyllis J. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jean Sophia Ruckdeshel

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert James Carty Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dondi Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9