NASCAR

That number 3 keeps popping up

Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about his fifth-place, all-star race finish.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about his fifth-place, all-star race finish.
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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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Now, I realize this is kind of fun and really has no bearing on what will happen by the end of the season, but has anyone stopped to look who is third in points in all three of NASCAR’s top-tier racing series?

BOOGITY! BOOGITY! BOOGITY!

NASCAR on FOX brings live coverage of the Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. The green flag drops at 1 p.m. ET, with coverage on FOX beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

As we head into our longest race of the year on the Sprint Cup side, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is sitting third in the standings, only 14 points behind leader Greg Biffle. Going into the Nationwide race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, Austin Dillon is sitting third in the points of that series, only 43 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Now if that weren’t enough, Austin’s younger brother, Ty Dillon, is sitting third in the points in the Camping World Truck series. He is only 16 points behind series leader Justin Lofton. Now, for you newer fans to the sport, I think it’s helpful to point out that Austin and Ty Dillon are the grandsons of car owner Richard Childress, and both have the famous No. 3 on the side of their vehicles.

I love how unique it is that all three of them tie directly back to Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the famous black No. 3. I just like the fact that even 11 years since Earnhardt's death, the stars seem to line up sometimes and give us a chance to stop and reflect on Dale Sr. You know what, I just think it’s the way it’s supposed to be after everything Dale Sr. did for NASCAR.

I think it’s cool when we can have those special moments that remind us and bring us back to the heroes of our sport. It gives us a reason to stop, remember, reflect and appreciate. It’s why fans are so loyal to our sport. We are unique, and they want to share in it with us. That’s really why the sport of NASCAR is so special.

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THAT'S THE WAY!

Keselowski's back in charge after JJ's setback. NASCAR Power Rankings

The legacy and memory, thankfully, will always be with us, even though, sadly, he can’t be.

Dale Jr. has been adamant and vocal that he doesn’t want to drive the No. 3 car. That said, and with the success and popularity of the Dillon boys, I don’t really think the day is too far away when that black No, 3 car is back in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

How special is it that our sport still honors and remembers Dale Sr. and the No. 3, King Richard and the No. 43, Cale Yarborough and the No. 11, Darrell Waltrip and the Nos. 11 and 17 and on and on? These guys are icons in our sport, and stopping to remember where we came from shapes how we handle things in the future.

That black No. 3 has been and will always be a part of the fiber of our sport. I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tagged: Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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