Dale Jr. to drive No. 3 Nationwide

Updated: April 22, 2010, 4:30 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a No. 3 Nationwide Series car in the July race at Daytona International Speedway as part of a tribute series to his late father, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com.

A news conference involving JR Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. will be held April 29 at JRM for a special unveiling.

Among those attending will be Earnhardt Jr., Richard Childress, Teresa Earnhardt and Kelley Earnhardt.

Dale Earnhardt drove the No. 3 to six of his seven Sprint Cup titles, taking over the number when he went to RCR in 1984. He became the "Man in Black" in 1988 when GM Goodwrench replaced Wrangler and the 3 paint scheme went to black.

The 3 has been on the track in only eight events in NASCAR's top three series since Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

Earnhardt Jr. drove the No. 3 twice in the Nationwide Series in 2002. Austin Dillon, Childress' grandson, drove in two Truck races last season and four this season.

Sources said this will not be a black No. 3.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter