Although it’s been nearly 12 years since Dale Earnhardt died on the final lap of the Daytona 500, car owner Richard Childress continues to make extraordinary efforts to protect his famous car number.
While Childress doesn’t have the authority to trademark the numeral 3, he does own the rights to the stylized slant to the left.
And he’s successfully gone to court several times to prove it.
Car numbers have evolved into intellectual property in NASCAR. Once just a way to tell one car from another, teams and drivers brand themselves now by a number. Drivers speak in numbers, referring to friends and foes by the numeral on the door, not the name on the roof, and that’s made numbers a big business in racing.