The 56th Daytona 500 is this Sunday and there are so many different story lines in play as the drivers try to win the big one! There are changes to “The Chase” now where greater emphasis is put on drivers actually winning races instead of accumulating points. Get ready for some wild finishes this year as teams feel a heightened urgency to win instead of just do well. You also have to wonder if anybody can catch Jimmie Johnson in the #48 car. He will now be known as “Six-time” after winning last year’s Cup and he and crew chief Chad Knaus show no signs of slowing down. And what impact, if any, will Tony Stewart have in his return behind the wheel after last year’s sprint car crash suffered away from his regular ride. Will he be the same old ‘Smoke?’ The biggest question for me though is why Richard Childress Racing would even think of reviving Dale Earnhardt’s iconic #3?
What it basically comes down to is RCR owns the rights to the #3 car and can do with it what they please. It just so happens they had a plan along. Austin Dillon is set to drive Earnhardt’s legendary #3 for the first time since we saw it T-bone the wall on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. I get it that Austin Dillon is Richard Childress’ grandson. This isn’t just any driver settling into the seat of The Intimidator’s Chevy and Dillon appears to be the real deal. He’s one of only a handful of rookies to capture the pole for the Daytona 500 so the kid obviously has skills. Wouldn’t it make more sense, though, for him to carve out his niche and rack up his wins with a number that is fresh and is all “Austin Dillon?” It’s just never seemed right with Aric Almirola throttling around super speedways in The King’s #43 and RCR has a chance to make it so nobody but Senior circled the track in #3. We’ll have to wait and see if Dillon can win half of the 67 races and 6 championships Earnhardt was able to win while driving for RCR. I’m guessing probably not.
The Kirk & Dinger Morning Show will be joined on Friday mornings throughout the NASCAR season by driver and broadcaster Donnie Neuenberger!