NASCAR does not retire numbers. Unlike most other sports leagues that will bestow the honor to those all-time great players, or ones who had a tragic incident, NASCAR keeps iconic car numbers active and on the track.
I never liked this.
When Austin Dillon was given number 3 by his grandfather, Richard Childress, I was a bit offended. Dale Earnhardt will always be number 3. Earnhardt’s contributions to the sport were huge, he was one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers and he tragically lost his life at Daytona.
Dillon doesn’t deserve the number 3 on the side of his car, no one did but maybe Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Like Babe Ruth, Dale Earnhardt will always be number 3 and like the Bambino he’s an icon and deserve the honor of no one ever using his number again. This is common place in other sports and needs to happen in NASCAR.
This is of course a tricky proposition because NASCAR owns the rights to the numbers and lets teams use them. Of course rules can be altered and its time that they should be.
With that said, what numbers do I want retired in NASCAR?