Richard Childress

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Darlington Raceway to honor Dale Earnhardt Sr. on Sept. 2

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Darlington Raceway will pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt Sr. and the 30th anniversary of his 1987 Southern 500 win in a special tribute: An Evening Honoring Dale Earnhardt Sr.

The event will be held Sept. 2., the night before the Southern 500.

The event will feature a panel sharing stories about the seven-time champion. The panel will include Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Kerry Earnhardt and car owner Richard Childress.

An Evening Honoring Dale Earnhardt Sr. will take place in the driver’s meeting tent in the Cup garage from 7:30 – 9 p.m. ET, following the conclusion of the Southern 500 parade. NBC broadcaster Rick Allen will emcee the event.

Tickets are $87, which includes two beverage coupons, light hors d’oeuvres and a 1:24 scale Dale Earnhardt Jr. throwback No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS diecast. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com or calling 843-395-8802. A grandstand ticket or infield admission to Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 is required for purchase.

“We are extremely grateful to Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Kerry Earnhardt and Richard Childress for supporting this tribute event and sharing Dale Earnhardt Sr. stories for our fans and industry stakeholders that will be in attendance,” Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said in a statement. “We look forward to honoring one of NASCAR’s most popular champions and Hall of Fame members. Dale Earnhardt Sr. had a fondness for Darlington Raceway, so it’s only fitting that one of the most intimidating tracks on the circuit would host an event recognizing ‘The Intimidator.’ ”

Earnhardt won nine Cup races at Darlington, second only to David Pearson’s 10 career victories there. Earnhardt also won three Xfinity races there.

The tribute to Earnhardt is a part of Darlington Raceway’s throwback weekend, which celebrates the 1985-89 era.

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NASCAR America: Austin Dillon, Richard Childress on importance of Coke 600 win

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In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the key players in Austin Dillon‘s big win sat down with NBC Sports to share their thoughts on how it came to pass.

With images from Dillon’s first four years in the Cup Series interspersed throughout it, Dillon, owner Richard Childress and crew chief Justin Alexander relive the Coca-Cola 600 and Dillon’s journey to winning in the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet.

The win came at a track Dillon raced on as a teenager in a Bandolero that had the No. 3 on it, a number that has been in the Childress family for decades.

Watch the video above for the full look back at Dillon’s win.

Running on fumes, trust between Austin Dillon, new crew chief delivered Coke 600 win

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CONCORD, N.C. — Somewhere on the pit box for Austin Dillon‘s No. 3 Chevrolet, a light flashed on.

The light gave crew chief Justin Alexander the go-ahead to give Dillon the command he’d been waiting 67 laps – and to some extent 133 Cup races – to hear.

“Turn the switch on and go hard.”

There were three laps left in the Coca-Cola 600. The only thing standing between Dillon and his first Cup win was Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time champion and four-time 600 winner, and an increasingly empty gas tank.

Dillon, Johnson and a small group of other teams had decided to gamble to win the longest race in NASCAR. Dillon last pitted with 70 laps remaining.

How many laps short was the No. 3 Chevrolet after his last visit to pit road?

“Lucky No. 3,” Dillon said.

“It was about 2.7,” clarified Alexander, who was working with Dillon for the first time in the Cup Series. “We told him three.”

Dillon, who had never finished better than third before Sunday, went to work pressuring Johnson.

At the same time, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch had been buzzing through the other fuel gamblers with fresh tires and full fuel tanks, gaining roughly a second on the leaders with each lap.

“I really thought more guys were going to do this strategy, play this out,” Alexander said. “(Truex) was catching us fast. … They were really on pace to catch us and pass us. I knew it was going to be tough at the end. I knew we were going to have to run hard at some point to stay ahead of them.”

Following their pit stop, Dillon had run hard for the first 10 laps of the run, then went into conservation mode for 50 laps.

“You have one of two choices,” Alexander said. “You can figure out how much you need to save, how many laps you need to save, or you can run hard and hope there’s a caution comes out.”

The caution never came.

“A lot of those guys up front with the leaders, they just ran hard,” Alexander said. “With 50 to go we told him what he needed. He did his job.”

Part of that job was putting the pressure on Johnson.

“Seeing Jimmie, I mean, at that point I’m super focused,” Dillon said. “I’m not getting too anxious, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re going to win.’ I’m trying to stay focused on what we had to accomplish.”

Driving the No. 3 Chevrolet made famous by Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dillon was trying to do what hadn’t been done since October 2000 when Earnhardt won his last race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Dillon’s boss and grandfather, Richard Childress, was also on the pit box with Alexander. Childress wasn’t sure of his grandson’s chances until a team engineer told him “We’re going to make it” after he asked.

“I knew we had a shot at the end,” Childress said. “When he came with two to go, I felt we had a shot.”

With his crew chief’s decision to go all the way, Dillon said Alexander “had ice in his veins tonight.” As the laps ran down, Dillon said “there wasn’t an abundance of over‑coaching” from over the team’s radio.

“You know what the hardest thing in this whole deal is? It’s trust,” Dillon said. “Trust is a lot of it. Justin trusted me he with the skills that he thought I had to fuel save.”

That trust was built over the course of 14 Xfinity races together dating back to last year. The two won their first race together in that series at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“The only thing about Justin is I never worked with an engineer, a calm guy,” Dillon said. “(He has a) totally different background than what I’m used to, working with. He fits. It’s cool. This week was relatively just smooth. We didn’t argue. We talked about the racecar. That’s what I needed.  I needed someone that wanted to teach me, talk about it, not tell me what was wrong with it.”

Eventually, it fell apart for Johnson and came together for Dillon out of Turn 2 with two laps to go. The No. 48 pulled up lame right as it exited the turn.

“That actually kind of took some pressure off me when he ran out truthfully,” Dillon said. “As soon as that happened, I went back to my (save) mode. They had just kind of cut me loose. I went in, caught him a bunch, then he ran out. ‘All right, back to the mode, you’re fine.’ Then bring it home.”

Less than five miles later, right as Dillon crossed the line to win the 58th Coca-Cola 600, he ran out of gas.

“Man, that’s what the 600 is about,” Dillon said. “There’s strategy, there’s staying in the race. It’s a lengthy one. You got to keep yourself in it to win it, and we did that.”

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NASCAR America: Newman’s strategy worked to perfection in Phoenix win

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Ryan Newman was one of three drivers that stayed out during the final caution in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Phoenix.

The strategy worked to perfection as Newman went on to win the Camping World 500 in overtime, his first Cup triumph since the 2013 Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.

It was also the first Cup win for Richard Childress Racing since November 2013, also at Phoenix.

Richard Childress celebrates in Cup victory lane for first time since 2013

Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images
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As Ryan Newman took the checkered flag in the Camping World 500, Fox cameras caught Richard Childress on top of Paul Menard‘s hauler doing something he hadn’t done after a Cup race in almost four years.

Flashing a winner’s smile.

Since November 2013, Childress has gotten to show it off 13 times. On 12 occasions in the Xfinity Series and once in the Camping World Truck Series.

But until Newman’s victory Sunday, he hadn’t used in it celebration of a NASCAR Cup Series win since Kevin Harvick earned his final victory with Richard Childress Racing at Phoenix on Nov. 10, 2013.

In-between the victories were 112 races and Childress’ NASCAR Hall of Fame induction in January.

The 71-year-old won’t be back at the team’s shop this week, but Childress has every intention of expressing his gratitude to the team from across the country.

“I’m going to send them a WaxMail (an audio file program), because I still have business in California I got to do,” Childress said. “They will hear a lot from me tomorrow morning. Get on the speaker, tell everybody how proud I am.”

Since 2014, RCR cars had earned 26 top fives between its three entries of Newman, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard without a win.

Childress said after a late-January test at Phoenix, RCR still “(wasn’t) where we wanted to be.

“(We) kept cutting bodies off, working seven days a week, working all kinds of hours to get our cars back to being competitive. It’s all about track position. Once (Newman) got out there, I knew he could go.”

Newman led the final six laps after crew chief Luke Lambert told his driver to stay out during a caution caused by Joey Logano.

Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. all stayed out. For the final two laps of the overtime finish, Newman had “to guard off a bunch of wolves” on fresh tires, Lambert said.

From his infield perch, Childress watched Newman power down the backstretch for the last time with Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch desperate for an opening.

“Man, if it sticks, it’s going to be good,” Childress thought as they approached Turn 3. “If it don’t, it’s going to be ugly.”

Lambert’s decision turned into Newman’s first win since he joined RCR in 2014. Newman is the eighth driver to win a Cup race for the man who has six Cup championships and as of Sunday, 106 Cup wins.

“It’s been a long, hard fight, and a battle all the way,” Childress said.  “Nobody ever gave up.  We never gave up in Ryan.  We know that he can do it.”

The win capped off a weekend where engines built by Childress’ ECR operation finished 1-2-3 in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

“It’s a great day for us,” Childress said. “When Ryan was talking about this could be one of the sweeter wins that we’ve had, it’s because it’s been so long.”

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