By: Adam Niemeyer (FOX19 Sports)
SPARTA, Ky(FOX19)—Austin Dillon grew up around NASCAR. His grandfather, Richard Childress, owned Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s No. 3 Chevy. Now Dillon has brought that black No. 3 back to NASCAR in the Camping World Truck Series.
"Anywhere you go with that black three it has a lot of fan support," Dillon said. "That's one extra thing I have with my number. I really want to go out there and push it for my fans. It gives me that extra push when I get in the racecar."
Ten and a half years ago, NASCAR lost an icon, a hero and a legend when Dale Earnhardt Sr. perished as a result of injuries sustained in a last-lap crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. This week at Kentucky, fans of Dale Sr. will get to see that black No. 3 on the side of Dillon's truck in Thursday's UNOH 225.
"I love it. It gives me a challenge," Dillon said of driving the legendary number. "Some people look at it as pressure, I look at it as a challenge and it helps me out because I have something to help push me harder."
Dillon, who turned 21 just two days before what would have been Earnhardt Sr.'s 60th birthday in April, is excited about NASCAR's trip to the Bluegrass State. He won the pole in last year's Camping World Truck Series event and he turned the quickest lap of the second practice session on Wednesday evening at the speedway.
"I feel like we've got a great shot at this race," he said. "We ran well here last year but there's some really good, tough competition out here."