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April 25, 2014

Memories Through 1000 Nationwide Starts

We sat with those who have worked on the NNS side since it's start and gathered their thoughts on start 1000.

Getty/RCR Graphics Getty/RCR Graphics

To make a thousand of anything is a pretty big deal, in the NASCAR world it’s something Richard Childress Racing will achieve this weekend at Richmond International Raceway.  When Brian Scott, Ty Dillon, Cale Conley and Brendan Gaughan take the green flag in Friday evening’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race, it will mark RCR’s 1,000th series start. 

RCR made its first foray into Nationwide Series competition on April 15, 1995 at Hickory Motor Speedway with Mike Dillon at the wheel.  Since the mid 1990’s, RCR has been a mainstay in the series introducing the racing world to young drivers and future NASCAR champions such as Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Austin Dillon, to name a few. 

We sat down with team members who have been part of RCR since the NNS beginning and captured wins and championships; Richard Childress, Mike Dillon (Vice President of Competition), Will Lind (Director of Business Competition), Gil Martin (No. 3 Sprint Cup Series crew chief) and Shane Wilson (No. 62 Nationwide Series crew chief).


Richard Childress - Team Owner
Q: What is your favorite memory in the Nationwide Series?
A:
“I have a lot of great memories of RCR racing in the Nationwide Series. We won some and we lost some, but we always came to race and win. But, I would have to say, having my grandson, Austin Dillon, win the championship last year in the No. 3 was pretty special and sticks out as my favorite memory for us in Nationwide.”

Q: What does it mean for RCR to record 1000 starts in the Series?
A:
“I still can’t believe we are making our 1000th start in the Nationwide Series. There’s been a lot laps since that first start at Hickory Motor Speedway with Mike Dillon behind the wheel. The one thing we can take a lot of pride in is we were competitive every year and have been contenders in a lot of those races. We’ve won 66 of them, so far, and we’re proud of the teams and people who have been part of this achievement through the years. It's also been a great foundation for us to hire and teach team members to become part of our Sprint Cup Series teams."

Mike Dillon – Driver of the No. 12 entry for RCR April  15th, 1995
Q: What is your favorite memory in the Nationwide Series?
A:
"As a driver, I don’t have too many memories. Some, actually, that I’d like to forget. But over the years, probably my favorite memory was when my son (Austin Dillon) won the championship. That team worked so hard, and was so consistent, it was a great celebration and a great accomplishment for RCR. I have a few memories of being a spotter for drivers that have a couple of Nationwide Series wins, too."

Q: What does it mean for RCR to record 1000 starts in the Series?
A:
"It means we’ve been around for a long time, and we’ve been doing this for a long time. Fortunately, we've had some success through the years, a lot of drivers have come through here and run well. The history of the program is pretty cool,  it’s cool to see all of the names of the people who have helped us get to this point."

Will Lind – Nationwide Operations Manager
Q: What is your favorite memory in the Nationwide Series?
A:
"All of the memories are special, but one of my favorite memories is winning Daytona with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in February 2002 in the No. 3 car. Because it was so personal, it was one of the first attempts with the No. 3 back on the track. It really tugged at the heart strings and had a lot of emotion tied into it."

Q: What does it mean for RCR to record 1000 starts in the Nationwide Series?
A:
"It is just the next race in line and it will be like all of the other starts. Reaching 1000 is a great milestone, but we will look at it just like the rest of the races we have started."

Gil Martin – Nationwide Series crew chief for the No. 21, 29 and 2.
Q: What is your favorite memory in the Nationwide Series?
A:
"It would have to be with Clint Bowyer when we raced Memphis 2005. We were on the pole and crashed during practice. Everyone went to work on the car to repair it and then we totally waxed the field to win the race. It was a symbol of what the Nationwide shop has stood for at RCR since 2000.That is a "never quit attitude" that has produced many top crew members in the sport today."

Q: What does it mean for RCR to record 1000 starts in the Series?
A:
"I’m proud to have been here since the beginning of the Nationwide program, what a great milestone to reach. It shows the tremendous commitment Richard has for the sport and his contribution to hundreds of crew members and drivers who have gone on to do great things in the sport.

Shane Wilson – Nationwide Series crew chief for the No. 29, 21 and 62.
Q: What is your favorite memory in the Nationwide Series?
A:
“We had an amazing year in 2006 in the Coast Guard Chevy with Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick. That year, Kevin won the driver championship and the No. 21 team won the Owner’s championship. So it was cool to wrap up both championships in one season.”

Q: What does it mean for RCR to record 1000 starts in the Series?
A:
“I’m glad RCR has stayed in the series.  We’ve been able to keep a lot of good people by having the Nationwide teams. It’s a good way for drivers to get good experience to progress to the Sprint Cup level.  It’s great RCR has the Nationwide program and that I’ve been able to be a part of it. It’s been fun along the way.
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