Richard Childress : biography
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.http://www.childressvineyards.com Childress was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is on the Board of Directors to the National Rifle Association http://www.nrapublications.org/index.php/13815/childress-richard/
Ownership of Richard Childress Racing
Childress working the pits in 1986He 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. Dale Earnhardt returned for the 1984 season, and together with Childress formed one of the most potent combinations in NASCAR history. Earnhardt and Childress named their team as Richard Childress Racing which is still active to this day since it's formation, one of the longest streaks in the team histories. 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.
In the 1980s, Dale Earnhardt used some of his wealth to form a team that used methods and supplies from RCR; Dale Earnhardt Inc. Although Earnhardt was a part of DEI, his racing wins would be credited to RCR.
Dale Earnhardt won the 1998 Daytona 500 which was Childress' first Daytona 500 win as an owner.
Earnhardt was killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Childress was one of the NASCAR members that were hit with massive mourning over Earnhardt's death. Childress and Earnhardt had been BFFs since the 1970s and it was real heartbreaking for Childress when Dale passed away. Richard Childress promoted Busch Series driver Kevin Harvick to drive the renumbered #29 Chevy. Harvick would win in only his third start, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and then the inaugural race in Chicagoland the same year.
RCR driver Mike Skinner would be injured during a crash at Chicagoland missing 5 races to repair a broken leg and concussion. Robby Gordon would sub for Skinner for five races; when Skinner returned he had another accident that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. Skinner had decided to part ways with RCR in spring 2001 thus the accident also ended his RCR era. Robby Gordon was approached by Childress to replace Skinner. Robby Gordon won the final race of 2001 at New Hampshire after a controversial pass on the leader Jeff Gordon. Robby Gordon would go winless in 2002, but perform better than ever. He swept both road course races at Sonoma & Watkins Glen in 2003 with wins. In 2004 Robby Gordon's career dipped downward and he would face his first penalty ever when he intentionally crashed Greg Biffle at New Hampshire. RCR put Robby on probation and in late 2004 Robby Gordon announced his resignation from RCR after 2004. Childress refused to let Robby out of his contract but when Roush Fenway Racing announced that they fired Jeff Burton Childress let Robby go.
In 2003 Richard Childress in a controversial matter, fired Jeff Green from RCR for throwing a verbal tirade at Kevin Harvick's team after the Pontiac 400 at Richmond. In 2006, Goodwrench would eventually leave NASCAR when Kevin Harvick's contract for their sponsorship ended. Shell/Pennzoil decided to sponsor Kevin Harvick for 2007-2010.
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