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Daytona 500: First time Dale Earnhardt's 'Number' 3 to race since 2001

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.won't race the "Number 3."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.won't race the "Number 3."Tom Pennington/Getty

The “Number 3” will be racing in the 2014 Daytona 500. This is the first time that the number will be racing since Dale Earnhardt died at the 2001 Daytona 500. According to a February 23 report by USA Today, Austin Dillon will be racing that famed number.

There are 42 other NASCAR drivers to take to the track for the 2014 Daytona 500. Among those other drivers, Tony Stewart, also known as “Smoke,” will be competing for his first Sprint Cup race since his accident last year. Tony Stewart starts in the 21 position.

Fans of NASCAR and Dale Earnhardt in Oklahoma have mixed feelings about the return of the “Number 3.” Some are opposed to the return and others are fine with its return.

“When you retire a man's number, it stays retired,” Mack Goodson, a Dale Earnhardt's from Tecumseh, said. “NASCAR showed Dale the respect to retire the number and now they are bringing it back. That is wrong. I do not like it one little bit.”

“I'm going to love seeing it back on the track,” Kylie Watts, a NASCAR fan from Oklahoma City, said. “Others should have the honor of driving his number. That is a real privilege and someone else should be able to do it.”

There is also a bit of superstition that will be running with the 43 NASCAR drivers. The last time “Number 3” was on the track, one of the greatest drivers ever lost his life. Fans of NASCAR will have to watch the Daytona 500 on FOX to see if the “Number 3” fairs better than the last time it raced.