Today's announcement that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet at Daytona this summer may have been the worst-kept secret in all of NASCAR.
But the lack of shock value at the car's unveiling didn't seem to matter to the tried-and-true Earnhardt fans watching the live webcast streamed by DEI this afternoon.
If online chatter is any barometer, Earnhardt fans and Junior Nation alike were thrilled to the gills about Dale the younger driving his father's famous number (and the old-school paint scheme) on the Daytona asphalt. Many watching the web cast commented they had already pre-ordered the diecast, t-shirts and other merchandise that will be available as part of the special car's promotion.
It's just such fan reaction that will make this unexpected collaboration between the oft-maligned Teresa Earnhardt, Dale Jr. and Richard Childress go down as racing's smartest business move in 2010.
Let's face it. Ticket sales are down. Merchandise sales stink. Fans have less income and are highly particular about how they spend it. In this economy, you have to offer spectacular product to make big bucks.
And with the Daytona race coming on the heels of Earnhardt's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, nobody could argue that the No. 3 Wrangler tribute, and all that when into making it happen, is pretty darn spectacular.
Per the offical Daytona International Speedway press release -
The legendary No. 3 car with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel will be returning to the historic high banks of Daytona International Speedway in the Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday, July 2.
"The No. 3 car has always been a favorite among our race fans here at Daytona,” said Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig. “Having Dale Earnhardt Jr. competing at the ‘World Center of Racing’ with the storied No. 3 will be an exciting moment that all race fans will want to witness in person.”
Tickets for the race are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/ or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Photo: The Earnhardts and Richard Childress pose with the No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet which Dale Jr. will drive this July at Daytona, from @MikeDavis88 via Twitter.