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For Earnhardt Fans, Number 3 Lives On

A license plate expresses the owners' feelings about their favorite driver. (Translation: Miss the 3).
Noah Adams, NPR
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A license plate expresses the owners' feelings about their favorite driver. (Translation: Miss the 3).
A sign on an RV window at the speedway campground.
Noah Adams, NPR /
/
A sign on an RV window at the speedway campground.

Dale Earnhardt's death on the final lap of the Daytona 500 four years ago broke the hearts of millions of NASCAR fans. His memory lingers in homes and racetracks across the country. And Earnhardt's famous red-and-white #3 logo is as prevalent as ever.

In places like the New Hampshire International Speedway -- where 101,000 people watched a recent race -- replicas of the most famous number in racing abound. As Noah Adams found, the Earnhardt threes are hard to miss among the 8,000 RVs packed into the racetrack campground.

From window stickers to vanity license plates to souvenirs, the number three is a way for fans to stay connected with the late legend -- and with each other.

For the Grant family of Lewiston, Maine, an Earnhardt #3 flag is hoisted on a pole above their camping spot. They joke that it's how they tell others where to find them in the crowded RV park. What makes it funny is that the flags are everywhere.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Noah Adams, long-time co-host of NPR's All Things Considered, brings more than three decades of radio experience to his current job as a contributing correspondent for NPR's National Desk., focusing on the low-wage workforce, farm issues, and the Katrina aftermath. Now based in Ohio, he travels extensively for his reporting assignments, a position he's held since 2003.
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