A black and silver No. 3 Chevrolet will ride again in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Richard Childress Racing and Austin Dillon kept their throwback paint scheme for this weekend at Darlington Raceway under wraps until the last possible minute — when it rolled off the hauler inside the Darlington garage Friday morning.
With American Ethanol sponsorship, the design of the car mimics the one former driver and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove in the 1995 All-Star Race.
“It’s super special,” said Dillon decked out in a retro-looking crew shirt. “Leading up to this point I had talked to a couple different people of what we should do, and Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. and I kind of talked about this car, and then it kind of came together. American Ethanol, I can’t thank them enough [because] they’ve been so supportive of our Darlington schemes and changing their logos for us to put it however we need it.”
The design was called “Quicksilver” when Earnhardt drove it, and a change in design for a team was unprecedented at the time. However, it wound up being the start of teams getting creative with their designs.
On hand when Dillon’s car was revealed were his current team as well as some members from Earnhardt’s group. Among them were former crew chief Andy Petree and gas man Danny “Chocolate” Myers.
“Talking to different guys about it and how special it was [when run in ‘95], it was a secret and that’s why we unveiled it the way it did,” Dillon continued. “They didn’t unveil this car until it rolled off the back of the trailer. And the first person that kind of got me was Chocolate actually. I was on a radio show and he was talking about what are we going to do for Darlington weekend, and I said, ‘well, guess you’ll just have to wait until we get to the track,’ and he was like, last time that was done it was a secret too. He knew. So, it was cool to have those guys be here and be a part of it. It’s very special for everybody, I think, involved at RCR.”
Dillon has driven the No. 3 in the Cup Series since 2013, the first driver to bring the number back to the Cup Series after Earnhardt’s passing. Dillon has driven the number throughout his racing career, winning a Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series championship with it. The number was also used by his grandfather and car owner Richard Childress, which is why Dillon also takes ownership of it as more than just Dale Earnhardt’s car.
This year’s edition of the Bojangles’ Southern 500 will be the second time that Dillon has run an Earnhardt paint scheme. And admittedly, any time such a design is on the car he wants to run well.
It’s no different than what has always been expected of him being in that famous car number.
“Last year we ran the Wrangler scheme, and that was one of his schemes,” Dillon said. “It felt really good to go out there and get a top five in that Wrangler paint scheme, and it’ll feel even better if we can go get a win in this one. Yeah, there’s always pressure when you get in that car because you want to perform in it, but I hope all the fans just enjoy seeing it out there and we put it in the right place when it comes Sunday night.”