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Childress looks forward to grandsons’ future




 

 

When Richard Childress finally walks away from the Sprint Cup Series as an owner, he will be one of the few that can say he did it on his own terms.

Few organizations will ever have the kind of success that his Richard Childress Racing has had in the sport. Of course, he will forever be linked with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and all of the success that they had together in the Sprint Cup Series, but this is one owner that has been successful in each of NASCAR’s premier series.

Including the six Sprint Cup titles that Richard and Dale Sr. enjoyed together, RCR has 12 NASCAR titles. He was the first owner to ever win titles in the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. His teams from all three series have combined for nearly 180 wins and that total swells to around 200 when you add in wins from nonpoints paying races.

Childress last hoisted a Sprint Cup championship in 1994 but remains a force in the sport with his three-car stable that features drivers Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Paul Mennard. Harvick’s team is the cornerstone of the operation at this time, but it has to be the future of RCR that still has Childress excited to come to his office every morning.

That future includes a couple of young drivers at RCR that not only call Richard their owner, but also refer to him as their grandfather. As you would expect of any grandfather, Richard is very hands on with the careers of his two grandsons and has apparently already mapped out the road that both will take that will eventually lead them to a Sprint Cup Series ride. Twenty-two-year-old Austin won the Camping World Truck Series title last year and is now competing in the Nationwide Series where he is battling another RCR driver, Elliott Sadler, for the lead in points at this time. Younger brother Ty at age 20 also is coming off a championship year as he claimed last year’s title in the ARCA Series. He now races in the truck series in the ride vacated by his brother.

Both boys seem to be on the fast track to the Cup Series, but Richard said last week that he would not be making the mistake of moving them up too quickly. He has been around the sport so long that he has seen too many young drivers’ careers ruined by making the move before they were really ready. In so many cases these young drivers moved up with teams and owners that just couldn’t provide them with the equipment and resources to be successful.

Quality equipment and the resources needed to be successful at the Cup level will not be a problem for Austin and Ty. Richard knows that he will put both boys in equipment that is not only good enough to win races, but also to compete for the title. He just wants to make sure that before any move up the ladder is made that the boys’ ontrack skills will be good enough to run up front and compete for wins and championships.

Austin spent two years in the truck series before moving up to the Nationwide Series this season and Richard has said that the plan is for him to run full-time again next season in that series as well as make a few more starts in the Cup Series. Ty would spend another year in the truck series before he moved up to the Nationwide Series.

Austin will make the move up to the Cup Series first and when that does happen, we will probably see the return of the famous #3 to the sport. Childress had not used that number since the death of Dale Sr. until Austin used it when he began his career in the truck series. He now competes in the #3 in the Nationwide Series and Richard has said that the number would return with him to the Cup Series but it would not be the same style number that will forever be linked with Earnhardt.

Give Childress credit, he not only will know when it is time for his grandson to make the move but also the right time to bring back one of the true legendary numbers to the sport where it will always belong. This could be a combination that could easily become a fan favorite.

Race Preview
Event: Pennsylvania 400
Track: Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile
tri-oval, turn 1-14 degrees, turn 2-8
degrees, turn 3-6 degrees)
Date: August 5, 1 p.m.
TV: ESPN
Radio: MRN
Defending Race Champion: Brad
Keselowski


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