No. 3 is special to NASCAR

The iconic No. 3 is back on the track.

The grandson of team owner Richard Childress once again has placed the famed No. 3, the late number Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove to 67 Sprint Cup wins and six of his seven championships, back into contention to win NASCAR races.

Austin Dillon posted the fastest lap during qualifying for the Daytona 500. Childress and fans are still emotional since Earnhardt’s fatal accident in the 2001 Daytona 500. Dillon made its return an emphatic one.

Childress and Dillon tweaked the design of the car to please Martha, Earnhardt Sr.’s mother, because she was uneasy with the car being back on the track. The famed white number is now black and the paint scheme is predominately white.

Dillon has run the number throughout his NASCAR career. He has won two Nationwide series titles and one Craftsman Truck series title using the number. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won Sunday’s Daytona 500. Dillon posted a ninth place finish. The next challenge is getting the No. 3 back into Victory Lane.

* Stewart Defends Patrick: Car owner/driver Tony Stewart is standing up for his driver, Danica Patrick. Patrick has been getting some horrid remarks from seven-time Cup champion Richard “The King” Petty. Petty made the comment “she could only win a Sprint Cup race if everybody else stayed home.” Stewart suggested the 76-year-old Petty challenge his driver to a race. The result would settle the matter once and for all.

* Kurt Busch/Indy 500: Kurt Busch is serious about his attempt to run the Indianapolis 500 this year. More teams are courting him to run their cars in the race. Busch did his rookie orientation with Andretti Motorsports. The new teams are Chip Ganassi Racing, KV Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing, which all carry one thing in common: the Chevrolet brand. Andretti’s squad has shifted from using Chevy power the last two seasons in the IndyCar series to Honda in 2014. The manufacturer divide may be a stumbling block that halts Busch’s participation with Andretti.

* Gordon Retirement: Jeff Gordon has stated he’ll retire at the end of the season if he captures his fifth Cup title. Gordon won his previous four titles in 1995, ’97, ’98 and 2001. Winston was the series sponsor and his crew chief was Ray Evernham. Evernham has rejoined the fold at Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant.

* F1 boss survives: Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has won a multimillion-dollar case at London’s High Court relating to the sale of F1 in 2005.

A former F1 shareholder, German media company Constantin Medien, had sued Ecclestone and other defendants for up to $144 million, claiming F1 was undervalued at the time of the sale to investment group CVC Capital Partners.

Ecclestone was accused of entering into a “corrupt agreement” with a banker to facilitate the sale of the Formula 1 Group to a buyer chosen by him.

Britain’s High Court ruled that the deal was corrupt, but said that Constantin Medien did not lose out as a result.

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