Future of seven-time champion's number uncertain

Friday, October 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Avondale-AP) -- It could be a long time before the Number Three used by the late Dale Earnhardt again adorns the side of a Winston Cup car.

It was announced Friday at Phoenix International Raceway that Dale Earnhardt Junior will use the number next season in two Busch series events.

But car owner Richard Childress says he doesn't see the Number Three running again for Richard Childress Racing unless an Earnhardt is running it.

That doesn't appear likely in the near future, with Dale Junior an integral part of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, the team his father built.

Kerry Earnhardt, Dale Junior's older brother, doesn't have a Winston Cup ride.

Another option would be to retire the number.

But NASCAR has been reluctant to do that for anyone.