Richard Childress is an American former stock car racing driver and current team owner of the Richard Childress Racing, the team that currently competes in the NASCAR's Cup Series and Xfinity Series.
As a driver, Childress recorded 285 starts in NASCAR's premier division between 1969 and 1981, not scoring wins. His best season's finish was 5th place in 1975.
As a team owner, Childress was much more successful, winning six Cup Series titles, four Busch Series titles, two Truck Series titles and one ARCA Racing Series title. All six Cup titles had been won by Dale Earnhardt. RCR's current drivers are Richard's grandsons Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon.
Starting a career as a scab driver
Richard Childress started his racing career in the NASCAR Grand National series as a scab driver during a drivers' strike in September 1969, when NASCAR President William France Sr was looking for replacement drivers at Talladega 500 race. In that race, Childress was driving his own #13 Chevrolet, retiring after 80 laps.
Childress returned to racing in 1971, when the Grand National was renamed to the Winston Cup Series. He was driving Tom Garn's #96 Chevrolet in eleven events and one race in Doc Faustina's #5 Plymouth. He continued to use number 96 on his own Chevrolet in 1972, recording 15 starts during that season.
Richard Childress in 1975
Fifth place in 1975 as the career-best result
In 1973, driving again for Garn Racing, Childress recorded his first top 5 result, finishing fourth in Darlington Raceway's Rebel 500. That season, he participated in 25 of 28 races, finishing 15th in the points. In 1974, he finished 16th in the final standings with three top 10 results on his account.
The season 1975 became his career-best year, as he recorded two top 5 results and fifteen top 10 finishes. He was fifth at Pocono Raceway and fourth at Martinsville Speedway, taking fifth place at the end of the season.
Richard Childress started to race with number 3 in 1976
Driving the #3 until the end of a career
In 1976, Childress reactivated his own team and switched to number 3, as a tribute to Junior Johnson. He spent six seasons in the #3 GM cars (Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac), scoring only three top 5 results in those six years. On the other side, he recorded 56 finishes among top 10 drivers.
His best year in the #3 car was 1979 when he finished 8th in the points. His career-best race was the Nashville 420 at Nashville Speedway in July 1978, when he finished third behind Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip.
Richard's last race in a career was the Winston Western 500 at Riverside International Raceway in November 1981, where he was driving the #41 Buick for Junior Johnson's team.
Dale Earnhardt and Richard Childress
Dale Earnhardt brought six titles to RCR
In 1981, at the age 36, Childress ended his racing career to focus on leading the team. He signed the 1980 Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt to drive the #3 Pontiac in the second part of the 1981 season. Earnhardt left at the end of the year and returned in 1984.
In the meantime, Ricky Rudd scored the first victory for the team in June 1983. Earnhardt continued to collect wins for the team, taking his second championship title in 1986. After that, Earnhardt was the champion five more times (1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994), equaling Richard Petty as the seven-time champion.
Richard Childress and his grandson Austin Dillon
Seven more titles in other series
In the mid-1990s, Childress expanded his racing empire, entering the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. Mike Skinner became the 1995 Craftsman Truck Series champion. During the 2000s, RCR collected three Busch Series titles with Kevin Harvick (2001, 2006) and Clint Bowyer (2008). RCR became the first team in NASCAR history to win all three of NASCAR's national championship series.
In 2011, Richard's grandsons started to collect trophies for the team. Austin Dillon was the 2011 Truck Series champion while Ty Dillon was the 2011 ARCA Racing Series champion. The last title came in the 2013 Nationwide Series when Austin Dillon was a champion.
Today, both Dillon brothers are driving for RCR in the NASCAR Cup Series, Austin in the #3 car and Ty in the #13 car through the technical alliance with Germain Racing.