The much-heralded return of the No. 3 to the top level of NASCAR was a talking point throughout the winter and into Daytona, but not nearly as much in the subsequent three races.
What has been interesting to note is that in four races, Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet has been adorned in four different liveries, not a standard, solid and singular color.
In Daytona, the black-and-white No. 3 premiered with Dow Chemical on the car. In Phoenix, it was the black-and-green 3, thanks to American Ethanol.
Dillon’s No. 3 channeled Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and yellow” for the first time at Las Vegas, with Cheerios signage.
And now at Bristol this past weekend, the 3 was white and camo, thanks to Bad Boy Buggies and RealTree.
There is room for more to come. Newsday reported from RCR Chief Marketing Officer Ben Schlosser that “We still have a few races open toward the back half of the year, but we don’t go public with exactly how many races are left.”
That could be between a mix of current companies and potential new ones.
But it is interesting to note that despite the marketing and story-line potential of “the 3,” it’s not a cure-all to fill the hood and quarter panels for all 36 points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.