Richard Childress (born September 21, 1945) is an American former NASCAR driver and the current team owner of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). As a business entrepreneur, Childress became one of the wealthiest men in North Carolina. A 2003/2004 business venture was the opening of a vineyard in the Yadkin Valley AVA, an American Viticultural Area located in Lexington North Carolina. Childress was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association. His grandsons Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon are NASCAR competitors.
Childress in 2010
|Born||September 21, 1945|
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.
|Achievements||1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994 Winston Cup Series Champion car owner|
2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2013 Busch Series Champion car owner
1995, 2011 Camping World Truck Series Champion truck owner
2011 ARCA Racing Series Champion car owner
|Awards||NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee (2017)|
|NASCAR Cup Series career|
|285 races run over 12 years|
|Best finish||5th (1975)|
|First race||1969 Talladega 500 (Talladega)|
|Last race||1981 Winston Western 500 (Riverside)|
|NASCAR Grand National East Series career|
|17 races run over 2 years|
|Best finish||9th (1972)|
|First race||1972 Hickory 276 (Hickory)|
|Last race||1973 Buddy Shuman 100 (Hickory)|
|Statistics current as of October 30, 2013.|
Childress' career in NASCAR's top levels started auspiciously when a drivers' strike at Talladega Superspeedway left NASCAR President William France Sr. looking for replacement drivers. Childress started his first race as a replacement. By 1971, Childress began racing on the top level as an independent driver, using the number 96. He changed to number 3 in 1976 as a tribute to Junior Johnson's past as a driver. Although he never won as a driver, he nonetheless proved to be capable and consistent behind the wheel registering six top-5 finishes, seventy-six top-10 finishes, and five Top 10 point finishes, with a career-best ranking of fifth in 1975. He did, however, win the unofficial invitational Metrolina 200 in 1974.
Ownership of Richard Childress RacingEdit
He retired from driving in 1981 after Rod Osterlund sold his NASCAR team to J.D. Stacy, and Osterlund's driver, Dale Earnhardt, did not want to drive for Stacy. Childress, with recommendations from R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, chose to retire and put Earnhardt behind the wheel of his No. 3 car, complete with Wrangler Jeans sponsorship. That first alliance lasted for the season. Ricky Rudd was hired in 1982 and drove for two years, giving Childress his first career victory in June 1983 at Riverside. Earnhardt returned for the 1984 season, and together with Childress formed one of the most potent combinations in NASCAR history. They won championships in 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994. In the mid-1990s, Childress began expanding his racing empire, fielding entries in the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. The team won the 1995 Craftsman Truck Series championship with driver Mike Skinner in the series' first season. He expanded to a two-car operation in what is now known as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, with driver Skinner driving the No. 31. In the first part of the 2000s, he expanded to three cars, with the No. 30 car driven by Jeff Green.
Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Childress promoted Busch driver Kevin Harvick to drive the renumbered No. 29. Harvick would win in only his third start, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. With Harvick having won the Busch Series championship in 2001 and 2006, RCR became the first team in NASCAR history to win all three of NASCAR's national championship series. RCR also won the Busch Grand National Series Owner’s Championships in 2003 with Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter and in 2007 with Scott Wimmer and Jeff Burton. RCR won the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship, both with Childress' grandson Austin Dillon driving the No. 3.
Childress' full-time drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series are:
Childress' part-time drivers in the Xfinity Series is:
- Kaz Grala, Anthony Alfredo, Myatt Snider(R), Earl Bamber No. 21
Richard Childress currently resides in one of the largest mansions in northwestern Davidson County, North Carolina. The Richard Childress Racing Museum is located in nearby Welcome, along with numerous racing maintenance shops. The Childress Vineyards winery is located a few miles south of the museum in Lexington at the US 52/US 64 interchange. Childress remains active in his current county of residence, attending fundraisers and supporting local candidates for office. He also owns a home in the famous Spruce Creek Fly In, Port Orange, Florida which he purchased from his friend, Mark Martin.
In 2008, Richard and his wife Judy established The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma with the mission to lead national efforts to reduce death and disability following injury to children less than 18 years old. The Childress Institute is focused on funding research and medical education throughout the U.S. to improve treatment, as well as raising public awareness.
Childress has a number of racers in his family. His son-in-law is RCR general manager Mike Dillon, long-time Nationwide Series driver who made one Sprint Cup start (1998 California 500) in an RCR car. Austin and Ty Dillon (sons of Mike, grandchildren of Richard) are NASCAR drivers.
In 2017 he was elevated from Second Vice President to First Vice President of the National Rifle Association, which in accordance with NRA tradition would mean he could expected to serve as the organization's president from 2019 to 2021. However, in 2018 Oliver North was designated to take over as president. In August 2019, amidst controversies surrounding NRA financial spending habits, Richard Childress stepped down from his board member position.
Alleged favoritism towards teamsEdit
During the 2003 Pontiac Excitement 400, there was a feud between RCR drivers Kevin Harvick and Jeff Green. In 2001, Green helped RCR start what eventually became the No. 27 Chevrolet team in the Cup series. Back then, the No. 27 was No. 30 and it was sponsored by AOL, with Green as the driver. Harvick and Green had a Busch Series rivalry, but rejected notions that they couldn't get along. During the race, Harvick wrecked Green with 128 laps to go, taking Green out of the race. An upset Green replied by confronting Harvick's crew chief Todd Berrier in the No. 29 pit stall, forcing Richard Childress to restrain him. Green later said to the media that, "It's tough to be teammates when it seems like there is only one car at RCR." Green was fired the next day by Childress, who said that change was needed after the relationship had gone awry.
Childress was involved in a physical altercation with fellow Camping World Truck Series owner and current driver Kyle Busch following the Truck race on June 4, 2011. Joey Coulter, driver of Childress's No. 22 Chevrolet Silverado, battled tightly for position with the No. 18 Toyota Tundra of Busch. Coulter would eventually hold off Busch, taking the fifth place in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250. Once the race had concluded, Busch purposely bumped into Coulter's truck on the cool-down lap. Childress reportedly approached Busch in the garage area, took off his jewelry and proceeded to punch Busch in the face. The fight was broken up and insults were exchanged before Childress put Busch in a headlock and hit him again.
Two days later, NASCAR fined Childress $150,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the year. Busch was not fined or disciplined. NASCAR President Mike Helton stated that "[Busch] did nothing that would have warranted the actions of Richard Childress."
2010 New Hampshire controversyEdit
In 2010 at the Sylvania 300, Clint Bowyer won the race in Childress' No. 33 Cheerio's car. However his car failed inspection twice. The car didn't meet specifications. Two days later NASCAR penalized Bowyer's team with a 6-week crew chief suspension, a 150-point deduction and a $150,000 fine for crew chief Shane Wilson. NASCAR executive Robin Pemberton said Childress' team didn't lose the win only because Mike Helton considered the team punished enough.
Childress filed an appeal. The penalty dropped Bowyer back to 12th in points, 185 points behind then championship leader Denny Hamlin. Childress appealed the decision, which reduced the suspension to four races and $100,000, but the 150-point deduction was upheld. The penalty eliminated any shot Bowyer had at the Cup series championship that year. Despite the penalties, Childress was pleased with the outcome of the penalties being reduced, claiming that chief appellate officer John Middlebrook was fair in the appeal.
Childress maintained during the appeals and to this day that the car failed inspection because it had been damaged by a pushing truck that pushed the car into victory lane when it ran out of gas.
Following the 2015 Auto Club 400, NASCAR officials received rumors that teams in NASCAR were purposely deflating their tires. Deflation of the tires provides more control and grip on the track. Officials confiscated the tires of several teams including the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car driven by Ryan Newman. Two weeks later, NASCAR penalized Childress's team with a $125,000 fine and a six-race suspension for No. 31 crew chief Luke Lambert, and other key players. Also Newman was stripped of 75 driver and owner points. The penalty dropped him from eight in the standings to 26th.
Childress and Newman appealed the penalties. They filed an appeal to the National Motorsports Appeal Panel. A hearing was scheduled for April 16. The penalties were slightly reduced. The $125,000 fine for Lambert was reduced to $75,000, the point deductions were reduced to 50 but the suspensions were upheld. Childress filed an appeal to the Final Appeals Board. There, the appeals board upheld the penalties, leaving Lambert and key players suspended. Newman dropped from eight to 18th in the standings as a result.
Motorsports career resultsEdit
(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)
Grand National SeriesEdit
|NASCAR Grand National Series results|
|1969||Richard Childress Racing||13||Chevy||MGR||MGY||RSD||DAY||DAY||DAY||CAR||AUG||BRI||ATL||CLB||HCY||GPS||RCH||NWS||MAR||AWS||DAR||BLV||LGY||CLT||MGR||SMR||MCH||KPT||GPS||NCF||DAY||DOV||TPN||TRN||BLV||BRI||NSV||SMR||ATL||MCH||SBO||BGS||AWS||DAR||HCY||RCH||TAL
Winston Cup SeriesEdit
|1976||Richard Childress Racing||Chevy||36||9|
- "Childress Vineyards". Childress Vineyards. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Board Spotlight: Richard Childress | NRA Publications and Magazines". Nrapublications.org. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Historical Motorsports Stories: Dale Earnhardt's "First" Cup Race and the Fall of Metrolina - Racing-Reference.info". www.racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
- "NASCAR Foundation". Archived from the original on 2013-10-05.
- "Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma mission".
- Richard Childress named NRA Second Vice-President
- Rodman, Dave (2003). Green out at RCR, no replacement named. NASCAR.com. Retrieved October 19, 2006.
- "NASCAR owner Richard Childress reportedly fights Kyle Busch - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Kyle Busch, Richard Childress have an altercation after Trucks race". baltimoresun.com. 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Richard Childress fined $150K for altercation with Kyle Busch - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "NASCAR clears Kyle Busch in incident". Msn.foxsports.com. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- Richard Childress at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
- "Richard Childress – 1969 NASCAR Grand National Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1971 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1972 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1974 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1975 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1976 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1977 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1978 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1980 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
- "Richard Childress – 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
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