2002 Season

Legendary No. 3 Makes Return
Talladega Superspeedway

(January 15, 2002)
It is not often that a NASCAR test session is emotional. But Monday at Talladega Superspeedway, it was hard for anyone in the garage area not to turn and look as the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet made its way toward the track around 9 a.m. with an RCR emblem painted on the hood.

The Chevrolet was dressed in primer grey, but the legendary white numeral 3 trimmed in red was unmistakable. Not since last February was the familiar No. 3 sited on a track, when Dale Earnhardt was fatally injured in the Winston Cup Series opener.

Now Earnhardt's son, Dale Jr., will pilot the famous No. 3 Chevy in two NASCAR Busch Series events in 2002 for RCR, including the season opener in Daytona.

"I'm excited to take a car out for Dale Jr. to hopefully get something prepared for him for the Busch race at Daytona," said Bobby Hutchens, the General Manager of Racing at RCR. "It was a little weird feeling when we looked at his number on the side of the car. I'm not going to stand here and say it wasn't.

"So far our biggest feat probably is going to be overcoming that in our minds, I think. I think with Dale Jr. doing it, though, that will make it a whole lot easier." The No. 3 RCR Busch Series crew fielded two cars Monday as the two-day test began at Talladega Superspeedway. Six other Busch Series teams participated in the test as well. The Busch Series teams will return to Talladega on April 18 for John Deere Qualifying Day to set the field for the Talladega 300.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drives the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the Winston Cup Series, won Winston's No Bull 5 million-dollar bonus at Talladega last fall in the EA SPORTS™ 500. The same crew who goes over the wall for Dale Jr. for his DEI-owned team will work on the RCR Busch Series team.

There are a handful of RCR employees who were assigned to this effort, but will work closely with RCR's other two Busch Series teams as well as the three Cup teams.

"I'm not sure which DEI crew will be pitting it, but we'll probably have a variation of people that will be assigned to the car for race week that will be a kind of conglomeration of guys from our Busch shops and our Cup shops," Hutchens said.

"And I'm sure while we're in Daytona our Cup guys and our other Busch teams will be part of the effort. We're making sure that the No. 3 car will be prepared identically as the other two cars. Wind tunnel wise and chassis wise they'll be the same.

One of the RCR Busch Series drivers, Jay Sauter, was on hand testing the No. 3 Chevy on Monday. Joining the RCR No. 3 crew to test Busch Series cars were: Jeff Purvis with the No. 37 Brewco team; Jamie McMurray with the No. 27 Brewco team; Larry Foyt with the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing crew; Joe Ruttman with the No. 1 Phoenix Racing team; Kevin Grubb with the No. 92 Herzog Motorsports team; and Ken Alexander with the No. 63 Ken Alexander Racing crew. Also on hand was Jason Leffler with the No. 2 Ultra Motorsports Craftsman Truck Series team.

Along with the Busch Series teams, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will return to NASCAR's Most Competitive Track for the Talladega 500 weekend, April 18-21. Following John Deere Qualifying Day on April 18 is Advance Auto Parts Qualifying Day set for April 19, which will set the field for the NWC Talladega 500.

For one $60 ticket, fans can watch all the action on the track, April 20-21, 2002 at Talladega Superspeedway – the final Winston Cup practice session along with the Busch Series and Winston Cup events. One $60 ticket in the Allison Grandstand is good for all the weekend events. The Allison Grandstand is located out of Turn 2 along the longest backstretch in NASCAR.

Plenty of great seats remain for the entire weekend, including seats in the Allison Grandstand.

Call the ticket office today at (256) 362-RACE



T h e   E a r n h a r d t   C o n n e c t i o n
Home Page  |  Contact Us