CHARLOTTE — Richard Childress traced his Dickensian rise from humble beginnings to six championships in NASCAR’s premier series during his Hall of Fame induction speech Friday.
Childress, who grew up in poverty in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, won six championships in NASCAR’s premier series with fellow high school dropout Dale Earnhardt. After starting as an independent driver-owner who never won in a dogged career from 1968-81, Childress switched to focusing solely on running a team.
His grandson, Austin Dillon, now drives the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing that Earnhardt made famous.
“Only in America could a kid selling peanuts and popcorn at Bowman Gray Stadium have a dream of becoming a race driver some day,” Childress said. “And then he goes out and buys him an old ’47 Plymouth (and) pays $20 for it — that was the best investment I ever made — and have a dream of being a NASCAR driver some day, be standing up here tonight to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Only in America. What a great country we live in.”
During his speech, Childress made several references to a wall he’d like to put in the stock-car museum to signify all those who paved the way for his success.
“I’d like to put a 10‑foot by 20‑foot granite wall with thousands of names etched in it that’s helped me all along the way to get here tonight,” he said. “I can’t thank you all, but I want to put you on a great granite wall to where I can thank you for getting us up here.
“But on that granite wall, the first thing would be my family. My wife Judy, my daughter Tina, my son‑in‑law, Mike Dillon, grandson Ty and his wife Haley, she’s here tonight. Grandson Austin and his fiancé, Whitney Ward. I couldn’t have done it without you all’s support. We are a NASCAR racing family.”
Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss his track’s past, present and possible future with NASCAR.
Slack detailed the run-up to the initial “secret” test with Tony Stewart and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon that led to scheduling a Camping World Truck Series race that recently completed its fifth edition.
Slack also discussed the storied history of Eldora, which opened in 1954 and was bought by Stewart 50 years later.
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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Daniel Suarez recalled the moment he got the call that he was being promoted to replace Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Cup Series at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Suarez was at dinner back home in Mexico with family and friends when JGR officials called and him to be ready for a teleconference in a few moments.
Suarez stepped away, telling his dinner partners he’d be back shortly — which ultimately lasted 40 minutes.
When he returned to the dinner table, he couldn’t tell anything about the phone call — JGR officials swore him to secrecy — but he eventually revealed that he had been promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series to replace Edwards, who had decided to take a hiatus from his racing career.
Check out the video above.
Daniel Suarez appeared on Wednesday’s live broadcast of NASCAR America from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina,
One of the funniest segments of Suarez’s visit was a video and verbal collage of how much he and his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other — all in good humor, of course.
Check out the video above where Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch answer the “tough questions” about themselves, as well as how they feel about their fellow teammates.
In winning last year’s Xfinity Series championship, Mexican native Daniel Suarez became NASCAR’s first international champion.
It was the culmination of a journey that began with his father and, interestingly enough, Volkswagen Beetles.
Check out Suarez’s story and the thoughts about his success and prowess by our NASCAR America analysts in the video above.
Speaking of VW Beetles, Suarez’s father sold his restoration shop to fund his son’s racing dream. Years later, Daniel repaid his father by purchasing a new restoration shop for him. See the video below.