My view of Dale Earnhardt and the #3 issue

I know this is going to cause a lot of flack and comments, but this is my opinion to which I am entitled to. So for those that disagree with me fine I understand, that’s your opinion and I have no grudge against that so, to each their own.

I realize that so many think the #3 should be out on the track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). I disagree and think the #3 should be retired out of respect to the man that made the number something more than just a number, Dale Earnhardt. I know that many are not going to understand this, as many new fans were little when he died and have no clue the kind of impact he had on NASCAR. He was NASCAR, he was the best driver to so many fans, to others he was the one to cheer against.

We avid fans know that the #3 was driven before him by other drivers and that Richard Childress owns the right to use that number however he wants. We also know that not even Richard Petty’s number has been retired, and we also know that Dale Jr has stated his consent, but what about us fans? Why do we not get a say? Dale made the number 3 more than a number, something no other driver will do and I dare say even Richard Petty is included in that category. Dale made that car and number a part of himself almost as if car, driver, and number were one unit that became the Intimidator. It was as if car and number were an extension of what he was on the track as a driver.

The day Dale died is the day the car and number for so many of us died too. I know people will say it’s time to bring it back etc, but how many of them watched their favorite driver/icon die in the car? Most of them saw it perhaps when they were young, many that disliked him will say it was just a number and can’t fathom how a number can come to mean so much to his fans, but it did, and it should rest with the man that made it famous. Why? Because any driver you put in it will never be seen as part of that number, it will always be seen by fans as Dale’s and no amount of time will change that.

I have nothing against RCR for wanting to use it but as a fan I don’t think you should but, realistically I know you will so as a fan honor Dale make it different. Does it have to be black and white? Can you make the #3 look different so it does not look like Dales? Compromise let us keep our memories in tact while you still use that number. Is that really asking too much? I don’t think so.

For those of you that will think this is something you don’t “get”, let’s pray you never find out what it feels like to lose your hero because that is the only way to understand what I am talking about.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Michelle Lippold
Michelle Lippold
I've grown up watching racing of some sort from midgets to Stock Cars since I was a child. I run the FB page Everything NASCAR but really want to explore my love of writing and racing together. I love both things so I decided to try combining them.


  1. I have been a race fan since my father took me to the fence to watch the baby blue 43 wiz by at Columbia track in the late sixties. Many changes in NASCAR and many drivers have come and gone. I have no problem with the 3 returning, RCR should have already done that with Harvick years ago and we wouldn’t have this conversation. What leaves the bad taste is grandpa doing it for his grandson. Say what you want no one is a fan of favoritism, especially in racing. Most continue to go on and on defending the Dillons talent, yet much still needs to be proven. It’s likely grandpa would have let the boys run the number anyway. As far as Childress, other than an owner he made no mark as a driver so the significance of running pop pops number is lost on everyone. It was Earnhardts number, period. And who cares was the remaining Earnhardts think? That appears to be a pr ploy to help fans swallow things easier. I agree with the author, if you run the three change its design. If not, promise Dillon will experience the hater phenomenon right out the box. If pop pop cared about the boy he would consider this. Run the three, no problems. Run Earnhardts three and enjoy the boos, smirks, criticism that is likely due to the Dillons naïveté and arrogance and pop pops continuing inability to manage what should have been on of the most successful racing teams in the sport. No excuse for Harvick not to have won a championship. Pop pop has been complacent until his grand kids came along. Then he robbed the kitty to ensure their success while Burton, Bowyer, Harvick and others have floundered many seasons. Although I was never the biggest Earnhardt fan, as with Harvick, I admired their guts and determination and was content to see RCR succeed. No more I assure if they run Earnhardts 3.

  2. Gosh, Roll Tide, my eyes got kinda weepy when I read your comments. Ya sure. There are all kinds of people who made the ultimate sacrifice and they didn’t turn up multi-millionaires.
    A lot of them are buried on foreign soils fighting for our freedom. Your analogy of heros is a little out of balance. If he did so much for making the sport safer, why did he die? If NA$CAR had done their job sooner, he would still be here. Sorry to be so blunt, but he didn’t make the sport and he didn’t make it safer.

  3. I hear alot of people speaking about moving on. Do we even know what it is to show the ultimate respect. The man gave his life entertaining us the fans. Many have given the ultimate sacrifice to the fans. BUT no one that I know of has given as much back to the people and the sport of NASCAR. He did his best to make the sport as great as it has become. In giving his life he made the sport safer for those who follow. As Americans we have very few traditions to be proud of in this country. Is it possible to start a new generation of NOT being selfish but to find a way of honoring our dead and the sacrifices they made for us. Is retiring the number of (arguably) the GREATEST one man to ever honor our sport, that big of a deal…Our sport is falling fast use the number and what it stands for (the symble of the sports greatest moments and popularity) to elevate this sport back to greatness… Wake up NASCAR fans… ROLL TIDE

  4. It’s been twelve years for gosh sakes. Nobody said men had to stop wearing beards because Lincoln had one when he was shot.
    We all still have our feelings as we look at our diecast collections and pictures but give it up. It’s time to see the No. 3, black, yellow, or polka-dot. Then ya’ll can get teary eyes again when you see it on the track.

  5. I did not “love” Dale Sr. but I realize what we lost when he died at Daytona. I mourned with his fans. I took a sign of respect for him to the 2001 Brickyard. I feel the “number” 3 should be retired. However, if RCR decides to run it, I feel his grandson will drive it with respect.

  6. Everyone has an opinion and I respect your right to have one that I don’t agree with. If you were a Earnhardt fan, fine. Bask in the glow of his accomplishments. The “3” is a NUMBER. Live with it and move on to “issues” that are actually important to the sport that you all supposedly love so much. When you do that, you will become true race fans and not just Earnhardt fans.

  7. I think it should be retired because Dale did so much for NASCAR and this would be a fantastic way to show respect and appreciation…I realize it is ‘just a number’…..but it was and is in my opinion Dale’s #…..Miss ya alots #3

  8. I agree with Michelle. I also think NASCAR should require SAFER barriers on the inside walls of all superspeedways.I don’t ever want to see a driver die in a racecar.

  9. I am and always will be a Dale Earnhardt fan, my car still wears a 3 tag on its front bumper and always will.

    That being said I want to see that 3 car on the track again mostly because I miss seeing it and the Dillon boys have shown it the respect it deserves.

    Now, If we are going to retire numbers such as the 3 then who are we retiring it for? Dale? Richard Childress? Buddy Baker or Junior Johnson? What about the 43? Are we retiring it for Richard Petty? The late Bobby Hamilton or John Andretti? The 7? The late Alan Kulwicki? Robby Gordon or the late Tommy Baldwin Sr?

    Many people have run these numbers and many more will in the future so if we are going to retire numbers then we will end up dissing someone who has run them in the past.

  10. It’s time to bring it back. We’ve mourned the loss for long enough. It was run before Dale and should be run after him. Running the number does not diminish his accomplishments or what he meant to the sport. It is a fact that RC is bringing it back so best get comfortable with the idea as it isn’t a debate any longer.

  11. I miss Dale dearly but I am not so sure he should have his number retired. If it was a common practice of NASCAR to retire numbers then yeah that would be fine. But honestly he isn’t the first person to die on the track(hopefully he will be the last though.) He was a great man with great accomplishments but I think it would be kind of cool to see the number 3 rolling around the tracj again and maybe do a paint dedicated to the intimidator…

  12. I agree, no one will ever measure up to Dale Earnhardt.That was such an awful day,I was watching the race with my Mom who has since passed away,I left & went home not knowing that Dale was killed,when I got home I saw it on the news, I was Devastated! I immediately called my mom, she was crushed & crying, She Loved Dale Earnhardt! I wanted to go & be with her but I had been drinking all day over there & didn,t wanna take a chance of getting pulled over.She had a lot of his memorabilia,She was never the same after that, I could not work the next day,It tore me up to know she was so depleted & overcome with sadness for a long time, He WAS the MAN & That # should stay out of the circuit as he is, they are both in Heaven now & I know She is loving that!

  13. I’m on the fence about the use of the number 3. However I’m completely against using the Earnhardt stylized #3. He made the forward slanted 3 famous. I wouldn’t be so bothered by it if someone else used it, but created a new style. At least then, that driver wouldn’t be milking undeserved benefits of looking like Earnhardt. Austin Dillion argued with his grandpa that he wanted to drive that number because his grandpa drove it (Richard Childress). I call BS on that. He wants the number because he knows his fan base instantly doubles with that number, which means more souvenir sales and more cash in his pocket. If it was really for his grandpa, why not run the style 3 his grandpa drove instead of Earnhardt’s stylized #3?

  14. Dale Sr was a great driver and and owner he knew what he wanted on and off the track he knew how to get what he wanted.i think dale Jr can fallow right behind him.

  15. I Adamantly Agree!! The #3 will Always be Dale’s number!! It don’t look Right, even in the Nationwide & Truck series, it just don’t look Right seeing it on the Track!! I still think the 3rd lap of Every Race should still be silent, in Honor of Dale!!

  16. Well said! As I read this article, wearing my #3 Dale Earnhardt hat that dons the “Intimidator” logo that so well described him, I thought you had a real grasp of what he was all about as a driver and what he did for the sport of Nascar racing! He was a man that people either hated or a man that people loved for whatever their reason would be, but those same people still respected him for what he was to the sport if for no other reason! I have to agree with you in every aspect of what you said! Good job!! May his memory and everything he ever did to make Nascar better live on!! R.I.P. Dale!!

  17. I finally got to see the movie “3” in it’s entirety the other night. I had a knot in my stomach through out the movie and fought back tears at the end when they replayed the crash scene.
    When they announced the return of the number 3, I was somewhat stunned. I am a HUGE NASCAR fan , but also believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I agree with you , either retire the number or at the very least, change the way it looks !!!

  18. I totally agree with Michelle Lippold, to this day NASCAR isn’t the same to me, First Dale, then Davey then Neil and that was just to much for me. I still don’t get as close to a driver as I did back then. Please retire the number, don’t follow a trend, start a new one, retire it. Richard, deep down I believe you want to, I truly do…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles