When the iconic No. 3 car starts races at the Daytona 500 this week it will do it from the pole position. Driver Austin Dillon and the Richard Childress Racing team posted the fastest qualifying time at the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
Alongside Dillon's Dow Chevrolet in the front row will be the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy driven by Martin Truex, Jr.
"I probably kinda would have felt a little weird if I beat them and made them second. I was a big Dale Earnhardt fan and it was real neat to see that [car on the pole,]" Truex said.
The No. 3 was last driven by Earnhardt at the 2001 running of the Daytona 500. A fatal accident made the race Earnhardt's last.
The decision to run the No. 3 has upset some fans. Team owner Richard Childress defended the decision on Victory Row.
"Austin earned a right to get in this car and drive it by winning two championships. I know Dale Earnhardt is very proud today smiling down today because these kids he always enjoyed being with them…I couldn't be prouder today for us and the Earnhardt family," said Childress, who is also Dillon's grandfather and a former driver of the No. 3.