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 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 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.|
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. Childress was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is on the Board of Directors to the National Rifle Association.
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 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
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 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. RCR won the 2011 Camping World Truck Series Championship and the 2013 Nationwide Series Championship, both with Childress' grandson Austin Dillon driving the #3.
Childress' full-time drivers in the Sprint Cup Series are:
Childress' full-time drivers in the Xfinity Series are:
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 controversy
In 2010 at the Sylvania 300, Clint Bowyer won the race in Childress' #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.
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 #31 Richard Childress Racing car driven by Ryan Newman. Two weeks later, NASCAR penalized Childress's team with a $125,000 fine and a 6-race suspension for #31 crew chief Luke Lambert, and other key players. Also Newman was stripped of 75 driver & owner points. The penalty dropped him from 8th 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 16th. 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 8th to 18th in the standings as a result.
- "Childress Vineyards". Childress Vineyards. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "Board Spotlight: Richard Childress | NRA Publications and Magazines". Nrapublications.org. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
- "NASCAR Foundation".
- "Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma mission".
- "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.
- Associated Press (2011-11-04). "No. 3 to return full time to Nationwide". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-10-01.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Childress.|
- Richard Childress owner statistics at Racing-Reference
- Richard Childress driver statistics at Racing-Reference