While it may not be in the official record books in NASCAR history, there was that one time Richard Childress drove his way to Victory Lane. The date was July 7, 1974 when Richard Childress beat the likes of Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough to the checkered flag in claiming his only NASCAR Grand National victory, which was done at Metrolina Speedway in Charlotte, N.C..
“Winning that one was big,” recalled Childress, with a grin on his face. He described the final couple laps, “I wrecked Cale Yarborough, well Cale and I got together on the last lap. I came on around and won it.”
Childress beat another driver to the checkered flag whom, together in later years, would become the most dominant pairing in NASCAR history.
This moment ranks among the top in Judy Childress’ memories, “it was awesome. I was crying and laughing…it was hotter than hell that day.” She recalled the final laps from her vantage point, “I remember him and Cale (Yarborough) wrecked, I didn’t know if he’d kill him or not. I was crying because I didn’t know if he was going to die or make it across the finish line, but he did and it was one of the most wonderful days.”
A man by the name of Dale Earnhardt finished second in that race, “I remember him coming up to me after the race, Tim Brewer was my crew chief and we were sitting there having a cold one and Dale said, “Next time I race you, I’m gonna beat you.” While the pair were relatively just competitors and said hello in passing then, neither knew what would come their way in years to come. “We knew each other a little bit just through racing, who knew where the history would go from there.”