Richard Childress Racing
RCR Crew Member Spotlight: Tyler Rader
July 17, 2013
“That was all Rader! Everyone thank Rader!” Crew chief Danny Stockman exclaimed over the team radio directly after Austin Dillon survived three green-white-checkered restarts in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to finish third and clinch the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus.
The “Rader” Stockman was referring to is team gasman Tyler Rader, who spent the final harrowing moments of the race, along with his crew chief and team engineer, crunching numbers. Dillon was extremely close to running out of fuel in the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet Camaro in a race that was extended 13 laps past its advertised distance.
With a little bit of luck, excellent fuel mileage thanks to Sunoco Green E15 American Ethanol fuel, Dillon’s fuel conservation skills and Rader’s ability to properly fuel RCR’s Chevrolets during pit stops, everything played into the team’s favor on race day and Dillon left New Hampshire Motor Speedway $100,000 richer. The team also jumped from fifth to third in the point standings, just 12 markers shy of the lead.
Rader, a former football star at West Virginia University, is no stranger to the high pressure world of sports. He won two BCS games during his five years as a football star at WVU. In high school, he excelled in football, baseball and track.
So, how exactly did a college star athlete end up on the NASCAR circuit? Rader grew up as the “ultimate” Kyle Petty fan and attended several races as a child with his father. One of his earliest racing memories was sitting in the grand stands at Myrtle Beach Speedway in 1996 to watch Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR Nationwide Series debut. Last year, Rader received a phone call from his father, who had heard about RCR’s pit crew combine.
The combine drew more than 100 applicants from all over the country and gave participants the opportunity to showcase their athletic talents and learn the necessary skills to help them develop into a well-rounded teammate.
Rader and one of his friends drove from West Virginia to Welcome, N.C. and participated in a series of rigorous agility workouts and physically demanding tests, including real-time simulated pit stops in high-pressure scenarios. Shortly after the combine, Rader was offered the opportunity of a lifetime and made the move to N.C.
“I love it here,” said Rader. “I feel like RCR is home.”