Richard Childress

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Richard Childress
RichardChildress.jpg
Born (1945-09-21) September 21, 1945 (age 69)
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
Achievements 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994 Winston Cup Series Champion car owner
2001, 2003, 2006, 2007 Busch Series Champion car owner
1995, 2011 Camping World Truck Series Champion truck owner
2011 ARCA Racing Series Champion car owner
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
285 race(s) run over 12 year(s)
Best finish 5th (1975)
First race 1969 Talladega 500 (Talladega)
Last race 1981 Winston Western 500 (Riverside)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 76 0
NASCAR Grand National East Series career
17 race(s) run over 2 year(s)
Best finish 9th (1972)
First race 1972 Hickory 276 (Hickory)
Last race 1973 Buddy Shuman 100 (Hickory)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 3 0
Statistics current as of October 30, 2013.

Richard Childress (born September 21, 1945) is a 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 North Carolina.[1] Childress was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is on the Board of Directors to the National Rifle Association.[2]

Driving career[edit]

Childress' career in NASCAR's top levels started auspiciously as a drivers' strike at Talladega Superspeedway left NASCAR President William France Sr. looking for replacement drivers. Childress was such a driver, and 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 proved to be average behind the wheel registering six top-5, seventy-six top-10 finishes, with a career-best of third in 1978.

Ownership of Richard Childress Racing[edit]

Childress working the pits in 1986

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, chose to retire and put Earnhardt behind the wheel of his #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 also expanded to a two-car operation in what is now known as the Sprint Cup, with driver Skinner driving the #31. In the first part of the 2000s, he expanded to three cars, with the #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 #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 Series owners championships in 2003 with Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter and in 2007 with Scott Wimmer and Jeff Burton.

Most recently, RCR won the 2011 Camping World Truck Series Championship and the 2013 Nationwide Series Championship, both with Childress' grandson Austin Dillon driving the #3.

Personal life[edit]

A section of Interstate 85 near exit 102 has been declared the Richard Childress Freeway.

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.[citation needed]

In 2008, Richard and his wife Judy established The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma[3] with the mission to lead national efforts to reduce death and disability following injury to children less than 18 years old.[4] Pediatric trauma is the No. 1 killer of children ages 1–18 in America.[5] Nearly 10,000 children die each year – more than all other causes combined. The Childress Institute is focused on funding research and medical education throughout the U.S. to improve treatment, as well as raising public awareness about the magnitude of pediatric trauma.[4]

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.

Controversy[edit]

Kyle Busch[edit]

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 #22 Chevrolet Silverado, battled tightly for position with the #18 Toyota Tundra of Busch. Coulter would eventually hold off Busch, taking the 5th spot in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250. Once the race had concluded, Busch purposely bumped into the 22 truck on the cool-down lap.[6] Childress reportedly approached Busch in the garage area, took off his jewelry (a gold watch) 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.[7]

Two days later, NASCAR fined Childress $150,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the year.[8] Busch was not fined or disciplined. NASCAR President Mike Helton stated that "[Busch] did nothing that would have warranted the actions of Richard Childress."[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Childress Vineyards". Childress Vineyards. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  2. ^ "Board Spotlight: Richard Childress | NRA Publications and Magazines". Nrapublications.org. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  3. ^ "NASCAR Foundation". 
  4. ^ a b "Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma mission". 
  5. ^ "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics". 
  6. ^ "NASCAR owner Richard Childress reportedly fights Kyle Busch - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  7. ^ "Kyle Busch, Richard Childress have an altercation after Trucks race". baltimoresun.com. 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  8. ^ "Richard Childress fined $150K for altercation with Kyle Busch - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  9. ^ "NASCAR clears Kyle Busch in incident - NASCAR News | FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 

External links[edit]