Should NASCAR bring back the No. 3?

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Matt's Take:

Nearly 13 years after Dale Earnhardt died following a crash during the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, NASCAR is bringing back the No. 3 car.

Earnhardt is a racing icon on the track and is hands down one of the sport’s most famous figures, even in death. So, as I thought about whether or not NASCAR should hand the No. 3 car over to rookie driver Austin Dillon, it doesn't seem right.

To me it would be like someone on the Chicago Bulls wearing the No. 23 after Michael Jordan dies. It's just something that you don't do.

Sure, Dillon is the grandson of team owner Richard Childress, but that doesn't mean that he should have the keys to NASCAR's most historic car at his disposal.

I know that Earnhardt isn't the only driver to die while racing, but it seems disrespectful to me to see the car on the track again.

NASCAR should consider retiring the car's No. 3 out of respect for Earnhardt. Think about it, other sports retire jersey numbers for great players out of respect, so why not NASCAR?

While Dale Earnhardt Jr. may give Dillon and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) his blessings in the media, I'm sure he's sick to his stomach thinking about it. I bet if you asked 100 people what they thought about the idea, more than 75 percent would be against seeing the black No. 3 return to the track.

Honestly, this reeks of greed on behalf of RCR, and seems like a great way to rake in some serious greenbacks.

Andrew’s Take:

It’s hard to tell a fan base that prays together every Sunday to not get overly superstitious or sentimental, but it’s time for the rednecks to get their emotions in check.

For the first time since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001, Daytona will have a No. 3 car, and NASCAR fans are miffed.

This isn’t Mario Kart. There won’t be a ghost car left-turning all day. It’s a dude, who doesn’t have a mustache, driving a car with the No. 3 on it.

Rookie driver Austin Dillon, the grandson of Richard Childress, will be navigating The Great American Race for the first time. And, as if that weren’t totally unnerving, he has to deal with the irrational majority of the sport’s fan base, basically hating him because of a problem they created.

So we, as sports fans, are supposed to let professional basketball players wear No. 23, but in racing, the No. 3 is off limits?

Thirteen years wasn’t long enough to get over it? Taking ownership of such an emotional issue, which concerns a person you’ve never met, is really unhealthy. It might be time to talk to someone, Bubba.

I understand that Michael Jordan didn’t die, on the court in the NBA Finals (the basketball equivalent to Earnhardt’s death on the last lap of the sport’s biggest race), but if he had, the No. 23 jersey would still be available.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but why can’t they be more like soccer where they use the No. 10 over-and-over as a sign of honor to the legendary Pele.

Why can’t we just reserve the No. 3 for the promising few, like Dillon?