Daytona 500 Countdown: day minus 3

Only three days until the green flag falls on the 2013 Daytona 500, and time to recall the greatest number in NASCAR: the 3. 

 

The number 3 is instantly and forever associated with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Of course, the number has been effectively and unofficially retired since the day Earnhardt lost his life on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

More racers who have run the number 3:

 

+   Richard Childress, from whom Earnhardt essentially inherited the number. Childress struggled as a privateer racer until he fired himself as driver and promoted himself to car owner. Six of Earnhardt’s seven Winston Cup titles came partnered with Childress while running the number 3.

+   Ricky Rudd, who drove for Childress in 1982 and 1983 until Earnhardt took over the car  and number.

+  Paul Goldsmith, who drove Chevrolets and Pontiacs out of Smokey Yunick’s Best Damn Garage in Town in Daytona Beach.

+   Buddy Baker, who drove Dodges with the number 3 for crafty owner and crew chief Ray Fox of Daytona Beach. Fox’s shop was only a stone’s throw from Yunick’s.

+   Junior Johnson, who also drove the number 3 for Fox, most famously a ’63 Chevrolet Impala powered by a 427 “mystery engine.”

+   Dick Rathmann, who might be better known as a USAC/Indy car driver and as the brother of 1960 Indy 500 winner Jim Rathmann. However, Dick Rathmann also ran 129 NASCAR Grand National races, winning 13.

 

You can find a few of these memorable cars and drivers in the gallery below.

3 Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo
3 Dale Earnhardt 1986 NASCAR Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe
3 Paul Goldsmith 1958 Pontiac Smokey's Garage
3 Dale Earnhardt Brickyard 400
3 Buddy Baker Daytona 1967
3 Ricky Rudd Piedmont Pontiac 1982
3 Junior Johnson 1963 Chevrolet Firecracker 400
3 Dale Earnhardt Sr. Goodwrench 2000 Monte Carlo
Dale Earnhardt Daytona
3 Junior Johnson Chevrolet Daytona 1963
3 Charlie Glotzbach and Junior Johnson Monte Carlo
3 Dale Earnhardt Sr. Daytona 2000 red Monte Carlo
1979 Dale Earnhardt
3 Dale Earnhardt Goodwrench Monte Carlo 2000
3 Richard Childress Olds Cutlass
3 Dick Rathmann Hudson
3 Dale Earnhardt 2000 Monte Carlo
3 Dale Earnhardt Sr.
3 Dale Earnhardt Goodwrench Monete Carlo hero shot
3 Ricky Rudd Piedmont Childress

3 Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo

3 Dale Earnhardt 1986 NASCAR Monte Carlo SS Aero Coupe

3 Paul Goldsmith 1958 Pontiac Smokey's Garage

3 Dale Earnhardt Brickyard 400

3 Buddy Baker Daytona 1967

3 Ricky Rudd Piedmont Pontiac 1982

3 Junior Johnson 1963 Chevrolet Firecracker 400

3 Dale Earnhardt Sr. Goodwrench 2000 Monte Carlo

Dale Earnhardt Daytona

3 Junior Johnson Chevrolet Daytona 1963

3 Charlie Glotzbach and Junior Johnson Monte Carlo

3 Dale Earnhardt Sr. Daytona 2000 red Monte Carlo

1979 Dale Earnhardt

3 Dale Earnhardt Goodwrench Monte Carlo 2000

3 Richard Childress Olds Cutlass

3 Dick Rathmann Hudson

3 Dale Earnhardt 2000 Monte Carlo

3 Dale Earnhardt Sr.

3 Dale Earnhardt Goodwrench Monete Carlo hero shot

3 Ricky Rudd Piedmont Childress