Earnhardt’s # 3 classic returns to the track in Texas – Salisbury Post


By Jim Vertuno

AP Sports Writer

AUSTIN, Texas – With the engine roaring and the tires smoking, Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo lived his childhood dream on the Circuit of the Americas, where he was treated to a ride in one of the late Dale Earnhardt’s cars.

Ricciardo got behind the wheel of the 1984 Wrangler Chevrolet Monte Carlo # 3 ahead of Saturday’s US Grand Prix activities. The Australian is a die-hard fan of the seven-time NASCAR champion.

Saturday morning drive around COTA – he did a few laps and even spun donuts – was an award from McLaren boss Zak Brown for Ricciardo winning his first Formula 1 race with the team earlier this season. The car is the original and is now part of Brown’s collection.

Ricciardo, who has long called Earnhardt one of his racing heroes, wears a special black and silver helmet this week that pays homage to Earnhardt. It features Earnhardt’s number 3 and Ricciardo’s nickname “The Honey Badger” in the style of Earnhardt’s former “Intimidator” brand.

“He’s one of my great heroes, so being able to drive one of his cars is going to be a surreal moment and a bit of a dream come true,” Ricciardo said earlier in the week.

Dirty Mo Media, the production company owned by Earnhardt’s son, is desperately trying to schedule Ricciardo for the popular Earnhardt Jr. TV podcast “Dale Download,” while Ricciardo is in North America.

“I’m happy for Daniel,” Earnhardt Jr. tweeted. “I also enjoy the way he celebrates my dad. It brings a smile to a lot of family, dads and fans alike. “

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