Austin Dillon was just 10 years old when Dale Earnhardt died in the 2001 Daytona 500.
Dillon recalls what Earnhardt — who popularized the No. 3 that Dillon now drives — meant to his grandfather, car owner Richard Childress, and remembers just hanging with the iconic Earnhardt.
“He was the guy that everybody knew,” Dillon said. “He was the hero. It’s kind of funny. I actually used to not like him because he picked on me when I was little. But he picked on everybody. He was that way with everybody at the track.”
Dillon, now 21 and living in Welcome, is on track to make his mark in racing.
He is in his first full season in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, driving for Childress and using the No. 3 that Earnhardt made famous.
Dillon and the No. 3 are featured in a 30-second promotional video that will air on ESPN’s platform of networks starting Monday and continuing sporadically through July.