Larry Mac: Seeing the No. 3 Cup car back gave me goose bumps

Austin Dillon prepares to strap into his No. 3 Sprint Cup Series car during testing at Daytona.

Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images

As everyone knows by now, the No. 3 car with Austin Dillon was back on the track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series last week at testing in Daytona. Not only was it back on track, but it was also on top of the speed charts. For the fans, it simply had to be huge seeing the No. 3 back for the first time in 13 years in the Cup series.

To be honest, having the No. 3 atop the practice sheet really doesn’t come as that big of a surprise to everyone within the sport. All the Richard Childress Racing cars were fast, plus they’ve always been extremely strong when it comes to restrictor plate racing. Also, remember that the No. 3 is really the old No. 29 bunch, and last year at Daytona they had plenty of car to win the race but got swept up in one of the big crashes.

I have to be honest: As a race fan and someone that at one time in my life was crew chief of the No. 3 car, when it pulled onto pit road the first time before going out for practice, I got goose bumps. It just was really cool. It stirred up a lot of emotions and memories just from my standpoint.

I have yet to hear any negativity from folks about the No. 3 coming back. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact of who is behind the wheel. Austin Dillon is a champion from the other NASCAR series. He is Richard Childress’€™s grandson and, more important than all that, he is a great young man that represents our sport extremely well. I just think it’s extremely positive for our sport to have the No. 3 back out there racing.

Larry McReynolds (left) talks with driver Dale Earnhardt during a NASCAR weekend at Talladega Superspeedway in 1997.