Rising young NASCAR star Austin Dillon and the legendary black No. 3 made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt are featured in a new ESPN promotional spot entitled “The Next Generation” that will begin airing next week. The 21-year-old Dillon is the leading rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
All 33 races in the series will air on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC this season and Dillon is the second Nationwide Series driver this year to be featured by ESPN in its promotional campaign for the series, joining 2011 series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The 30-second spot, which continues ESPN’s “Names Are Made Here” marketing campaign for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, traces Dillon’s career through go karts, dirt tracks and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he was series champion last year. At the end of the spot, a team member opens a garage door to reveal the No. 3 car that Dillon is driving this season. “Here you go, Austin,” the man says. “She’s ready when you are.”
The No. 3, owned by Dillon’s grandfather, longtime NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, has returned to regular use on a car this year for the first time since Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500 and the new ESPN spot reflects the magnitude of the return of the number. Dillon won the Truck Series championship last year driving a Childress-owned No. 3 truck.