That was the number Dale Earnhardt, Sr. raced under, right up until his final passing maneuver at the Daytona 500 in 2001. Team owner Childress has paid the fee to keep the number ever since, but has kept it out of use in Earnhardt's memory. His successor Kevin Harvick has raced in the Sprint Cup under the substitute number 29 ever since, and the number 3 was being kept out of use in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series as well. But that's all primed to change.
Childress' own grandsons have been making their way up the stock car racing ladder, Austin Dillon has been racing under the number 3 in the Nationwide Series, and his brother Ty Dillon has been using the same in the Camping World Truck Series. Austin has campaigned a handful of Sprint Cup races, sometimes using the number 33 at his grandpa's team, but now he's officially moving up to the big leagues full time, and is likely to take the number 3 along with him.
Whether Dillon and Childress concoct some sort of retro tribute livery to Earnhardt's (pictured above) remains to be seen, but it looks like Dillon is leaving his sponsor AdvoCare behind. General Motors has retired the Goodwrench name (at least in the US) that sponsored Earnhardt's car, but that's not to say that GM Certified Service couldn't fit the bill with a black and red livery.