It's been a long debated topic but Richard Childress Racing announced Wednesday that the #3 will return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the 2014 season with Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon behind the wheel. Dillon will drive the #3 Richard Childerss Racing Chevrolet in 2014 joining teammates Ryan Newman and Paul Menard. It's the first time the #3 will be on the racetrack in a Sprint Cup Series race since the tragic day of February 18, 2001 when Dale Earnhardt lost his life on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
Joining Dillon at RCR will be sponsors Dow Chemicals and Cheerios. Also joining Dillon are long time sponsors Bass Pro Shops and Realtree Outfitters. Dow Chemicals is a new sponsor in NASCAR and they are excited to join Dillon in the 2014 season.
“We see this as a great opportunity to partner with a historic team like Richard Childress Racing that is synonymous with success, integrity and championships, and a championship driver in Austin Dillon,” said Joe Harlan, executive vice president of Dow. “Austin’s winning passion is representative of Dow. Our employees and customers were very supportive of our debut into our partnership with RCR during 2013 and they are looking forward to continued involvement with Austin next year. Dow’s technology-focused, market-driven, customer-centric organization aligns perfectly with the performance-driven values of RCR and NASCAR. We look forward to being a part of Austin’s rookie NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and continued success in NASCAR.”
Dillon comes to the Sprint Cup Series after spending the past two seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Dillon won the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and is also the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion. Dillon also brings 13 Sprint Cup Series starts to the #3 car with a highest finish of 11th at Michigan in June. Dillon is excited to continue the legacy of the #3 car.
“My grandfather and everyone at RCR have done a great job of not pushing me too quickly into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” said Dillon. “I feel like I’ve been able to spend adequate time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series preparing for this next step in my career. I am thrilled to be making this move with partners like Dow and Cheerios, along with some long-time partners who have supported me and RCR throughout my career. I am truly grateful and looking forward to this opportunity.”
The #3 will return after a long hiatus in the sport. Dale Earnhardt won 67 races and six championships in the #3 for Richard Childress Racing. The legacy will continue with Dillon behind the wheel. Veteran crew chief Gil Martin will guide Dillon through his first Sprint Cup Series season. Martin has 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins to his credit.
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