By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com Since the death of racing legend Dale Earnhardt in February of this year the fate of the legendary black GM Goodwrench No. 3 Chevrolet has been in question. Shortly before the start of the Protection One 400,...
By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com
Since the death of racing legend Dale Earnhardt in February of this year the fate of the legendary black GM Goodwrench No. 3 Chevrolet has been in question.
Shortly before the start of the Protection One 400, Richard Childress, Kevin Harvick and John Smith, the General Manager of the GM service parts operation announced the legendary car will never again adorn the racetrack.
After Earnhardt's death, the team changed the car number from three to twenty nine, and altered the paint scheme to a white and red, from the familiar black.
Under NASCAR rules, car owners obtain the rights to car numbers from the sanctioning body, and retain them for as long as the team is active, and continue to retain them for twelve months since the last time the car appeared on the track.
Speculation that RCR would again use the number was ended Sunday morning as it was announced that the team would continue to use the twenty-nine, and change the paint scheme back to more familiar colors.
"We've been with GM Goodwrench for sixteen years. Our cars have been black and silver which are their colors. They're drag cars and every promotion they do use those colors. So, we went back to that. The twenty-nine is Kevin's Number, and that is the number he is making famous today", expressed car owner Richard Childress.
Kevin Harvick added "We've had a long year and the number twenty nine has obviously become part of our organization and our team and hopefully, this puts a little bit of pressure on NASCAR to what is right with the No. three car."
"Doing what is right" is clarified as the unprecedented move of permanent retirement of the number three.
Since it's inception, NASCAR has not retired a number and has previously indicated that it has no intention of changing this policy.
Childress notes "We have had the No 3 since 1973. Unless something drastic comes up, NASCAR lets the owners retain the numbers they've got. In this situation here, they have to make the right decision as well. Hopefully that decision is that if they won't retire it, they will let us keep the No 3 three and not run it.
NASCAR has not issued an official response to the request.