If and when Austin Dillon drives the No. 3 Sprint Cup Chevrolet for the first time since Dale Earnhardt was killed in it in the 2001 Daytona 500, he’ll not only have grandfather Richard Childress’s blessing – he’ll also have Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s, as well.
“I think it will be great,” Junior said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway as part of his weekly media availability. “It was an iconic number for my father and it means a lot to a lot of his fans.
“This sport doesn’t really retire numbers and all the numbers have history tied to them for several different reasons. The No. 3 is no different. … (Dillon) came up through the ranks and he drove the No. 3 in dirt racing and he drove the No. 3 in his Truck series and Nationwide series. He has earned the right to run that number as long as he wants.”
Earnhardt realizes some longtime NASCAR fans – particularly those of his late father – may feel it’s wrong for Dillon to drive the No. 3 car, that it may in some way be lessening the legacy of the man they called “The Intimidator.”
“He wants to run it; I think it’s not really fair to deny somebody that opportunity,” Earnhardt said. “I’m okay with it. I know that might not be the way a lot of people feel or some people feel, but I’m sure it’s the minority that feels that way. I think that a lot of people will be telling Austin positive things about it.”
Holmatro, a long-time partner of INDYCAR and title sponsor of the Holmatro Safety Team, have renewed a long-standing partnership that will see Holmatro and INDYCAR continue their partnership in a five-year contract extension.
“Holmatro has been a trusted partner and supplier in Indy car racing for more than 20 years,” said president of competition and operations Jay Frye. “Holmatro’s growth parallels some of the great strides made in safety for INDYCAR drivers and teams. We’re pleased to see this partnership continue, as it is a great benefit to everyone in the paddock.”
Holmatro’s relationship with INDYCAR dates back to 1991, when they first supplied tools to the safety team of the CART sanctioned PPG IndyCar World Series. Holmatro branding will continue to be featured on the firesuits, vehicles, and transporters of INDYCAR’s safety team throughout the agreement.
“Holmatro is extremely pleased to extend our partnership with INDYCAR for another five years,” said Tony Barboza, general manager for Holmatro. “We’re extremely proud to be affiliated with the premier on-track safety team in the world. Members of the safety team serve on their home fire departments when not at INDYCAR events and, like them, we believe in constant improvement and innovation. When the race is for life, you can count on the INDYCAR Safety Team and Holmatro rescue tools.”