DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It was 20 years ago when 6-year-old Wessa Miller handed her favorite driver Dale Earnhardt a lucky penny, which the “Intimidator” famously glued inside his car before winning the “Great American Race” in dramatic fashion.
NASCAR.com profiled their story extensively on the anniversary of Earnhardt’s win.
Two decades later, the No. 3 Chevrolet again will have a penny in its car for Sunday’s 60th running of the Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Austin Dillon and his Richard Childress Racing team hope it’s another lucky charm.
The No. 3 team carefully positioned the penny just so on Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, with interior mechanic Adam Brown doing the honors.
The penny comes from Austin Dillon’s newest fan. The 27-year-old noticed during an autograph session that a child approached him for an autograph without a hat on.
Dillon whipped the hat off his head, signed it and gave it to him under the condition he become an Austin Dillon fan. Those were agreeable terms.
The young man returned to see Austin the next day, bringing with him a penny for luck.
“I handed him the hat and didn’t think nothing of it,” Dillon said. “It was like I got a new fan, obviously, he’s going to follow me forever because he’s probably 8, 9 or 10 years old. And the next day I saw him and I was walking through the garage and he yelled at me … And he handed me a lucky penny.
“So I told him I’d take that penny and put it in the (Daytona) 500 car. We’ll have a penny in the car on 500 day.”
And, with a little luck, a visit to Victory Lane will follow.