No. 3 To Return Full Time To Cup Series In 2014
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Richard Childress announced Wednesday that he will return the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the Sprint Cup Series next season and that his grandson, Austin Dillon, will drive the car.
Dillon will be competing in his first full Cup season while the car returns full time to the series for the first time since Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove it to six championships for RCR.
“Having my own grandson be able to get in the car is really special,” Childress said during a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I just think back to the conversation Dale Earnhardt and I had riding back one night from a hunt in New Mexico.
“Those are the kind of things that help you feel good about, ‘Hey, it’s time to bring it back — and to bring it back with family.’ I would never put anyone in it except an Earnhardt or one of my family members.”
Dillon won championships in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving for his grandfather.
He called driving the No. 3 car “a huge responsibility”.
“My grandfather and everyone at RCR have done a great job of not pushing me too quickly into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” Dillon said. “I feel like I’ve been able to spend adequate time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series preparing for this next step in my career. I am thrilled to be making this move with partners like Dow and Cheerios, along with some long-time partners who have supported me and RCR throughout my career. I am truly grateful and looking forward to this opportunity.”
Dillon’s program will be led by crew chief Gil Martin, a 13-year veteran of the organization who led Kevin Harvick to six chase berths. It also marks the highly anticipated return of the No. 3 to Sprint Cup Series competition. Dow and General Mills’ Cheerios brand will be the primary brands featured on the No. 3 Chevrolet SS throughout the season.
Childress said he hopes the re-introduction of the car will re-energize older fans and bring new fans into the sport.
“I know in my heart today as I sit here that Dale Earnhardt is smiling down,” Childress said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and others associated with the Earnhardt inner circle have given their blessings to Childress on the move.
“You have to be comfortable with what you’re doing and, I guess, approach it with grace,” Dillon said. “I got the approval of the people I felt I needed to get in the seat with the number. I’ve been able to run it for four years now, and have so many good times with it.
The team also announced that RCR will not compete in the truck series next season and that it will field three Nationwide cars.One Comment