Twenty years after the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. captured his only Daytona 500 victory, Austin Dillon—grandson of Richard Childress—added a stirring chapter to one of the great family stories in all of sports, making racing history as he earned the checkered flag in 2018's "Great American Race" driving the RCR No. 3 Chevrolet—the same RCR number driven by Earnhardt. Richard Childress currently serves as 1st Vice President of NRA and is co-chairman of NRA's Hunters Leadership Forum.
In all respects, the race was a throwback to the brand of old-school racing diehard fans love, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ season-opening event featured eight cautions and three massive wrecks that eliminated several of the 40 cars in the field. Dillon sealed his victory after turning race leader Aric Almirola in the third corner of the final lap.
"This is so awesome to take the No. 3 car back to Victory Lane," said Dillon. "This one is for Dale Earnhardt Sr., and all those (Dale) Sr. fans. I love you guys. We are going to keep kicking butt the rest of the year!"
"I said (after) my first win I couldn’t beat it, but this does. My grandfather has done everything for me. Everybody knows it. There is a lot of pressure on me to perform, because I’ve had a little bit of everything. But I like that pressure. The same with the No. 3. There is a lot of pressure behind that.
"But I’m willing to take that and go with it," said Dillon. "I’m just thankful for all the people that support us along the way—Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family for letting us bring this number back. It comes full circle. I just can’t thank the Lord enough for this opportunity."
Richard Childress said, “What a great special night to see the number 3 back in Winner Circle 20 years later from Dale Earnhardt's great win and I have my grandson Austin Dillon do it that is special.” (image courtesy rcracing.com)