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Earnhardt car, memorial book to be at Atwood

[03/06/01] Vicksburg’s racing fans will have a chance to say goodbye to The Intimidator this weekend at Atwood Chevrolet.

Dale Earnhardt’s black No. 3 show car, with the “Oreo” paint scheme from this year’s Bud Shootout, will be on display at the North Frontage Road car dealership on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Atwood brings in NASCAR show cars several times a year. The visit was arranged with car owner Richard Childress last fall, long before Earnhardt was killed in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, dealership president Alan Atwood said.

Childress has said he will never race another black No. 3 car, and Atwood said the car owner also plans to stop sending out the show car soon.

“(Childress) let us go ahead, but only as a tribute to Dale,” Atwood said. “We usually sell souvenirs and stuff, but there won’t be any of that this time.”

There will still be some festivities a trip to the April 22 Talladega 500 will be given away Saturday at 6 p.m. but the mood of the event will be much closer to a memorial service for the seven-time Winston Cup champion, Atwood said.

Fans will be able to sign a memorial book that will be returned to Richard Childress Racing with the car, and Atwood is trying to put together a memorabilia display.

Also on display will be the new No. 24 car of Jeff Gordon. Atwood also tried to get the new GM Goodwrench car, the white No. 29 machine driven by rookie Kevin Harvick, but Childress won’t have a show model ready until the end of the month. Atwood plans to have it in September instead.

“It’s extremely bittersweet. Most people who know me in Vicksburg know that I bleed number three. It’s going to be tough, and I think it’s going to be tough on a lot of people to see it,” Atwood said, adding that feedback to the decision to show the car after Earnhardt’s death has been overwhelmingly positive. “I think that’s one reason why a lot of people wanted to do this. It’s like, One last time.'”