Daytona countdown: The history of the legendary No. 3 in NASCAR
With just three days until the Daytona 500 on FOX, it’s time for a quick refresher course on the No. 3 and its place in NASCAR history.
Think you already know everything about the No. 3 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series?
Here’s some serious No. 3 trivia for the hard-core NASCAR fan:
– A total of 82 drivers have driven the No. 3 in NASCAR’s premier division – the late Dale Earnhardt and 81 others, including his former boss, Richard Childress.
– All told, cars carrying the No. 3 have competed in 1,172 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, amassing 68 poles, 97 race victories and 30,346 laps led.
– Nine drivers already in the NASCAR Hall of Fame competed in at least one race in the No. 3 in what is now known as the Sprint Cup Series: Tim Flock, Cotton Owens, Fireball Roberts, Junior Johnson, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Buck Baker, Fred Lorenzen and Dale Earnhardt.
Of those nine, Earnhardt, Johnson, Pearson, Baker and Roberts won races in the No. 3.
– The first driver to compete in the No. 3 in what is now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? That would be Bill Snowden, who finished fifth in his No. 3 Nash at Occoneechee (N.C.) Speedway on Aug. 7, 1949. Back then, it was called the NASCAR Strictly Stock Series, and ’49 was its first year.
– The first driver to win a race in the No. 3 in what is now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? That would be Dick Rathmann who drove the No. 3 Hudson Hornet to victory at Oakland Stadium on March 28th, 1954. Rathmann won $1,000 for claiming the race.
– The most obscure winner in the No. 3 was probably Danny Letner, who on Aug. 1, 1954, won a 300-lapper at Oakland Stadium in a Hudson Hornet. Letner, 87, is a native of Downey, California.
– Top five winners in the No. 3: Dale Earnhardt, 67 race victories; Junior Johnson, 9; Paul Goldsmith, 5; Dick Rathmann and David Pearson, 3 each.
– What automakers have raced the No. 3? Just about all of them. Chevrolet, 821 races; Dodge, 118; Pontiac, 107; Oldsmobile, 56; Ford, 48; Hudson, 43; Plymouth, 16; Chrysler, 10; Mercury, 6; Studebaker, 3; Nash and MG, 1 each.
Don’t miss the 2015 Daytona 500 this Sunday at noon ET on FOX. NASCAR RaceDay begins at 10:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.