With the 2019 season serving as the 50th anniversary of Richard Childress Racing, we plan to dip into the archives to present the stories of iconic moments, race wins, championships and much more as part of our weekly Throwback Thursday series.
While trophies and race cars are all a part of RCR’s 50-year success story, it truly comes down to the people that have helped carry the organization from a small, independent, almost all-volunteer staff, to the NASCAR powerhouse it is today.
“I’m very proud of RCR’s accomplishments, from race wins to championships and the many drivers, employees and partners who have been associated with our race team along the way. I’m most proud of the relationships we’ve formed and the many race fans who support us each weekend,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing.
Nearly 76 different drivers have carried the RCR banner over 4,930 times on the racetrack in either the NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series, or the ARCA Racing Series. Those 76 drivers have combined to earn 15 championships, 228 victories, 1,110 top-five and 2,181 top-10 finishes, along with 169 pole awards across all four series.
In 1982, Ricky Rudd provided the small team with its first two pole awards at Dover and Martinsville. He opened the following season with four poles in the first seven races of the year – including the Daytona 500.
Rudd’s success with RCR continued later that year when he earned the team’s first Cup Series win at Riverside, adding another victory a few months later at Martinsville.
When Dale Earnhardt rejoined the organization in 1985, the combination was an instant success. Earnhardt and RCR won the second race of the season at Richmond, then followed it up with three more wins at both Bristol races and Martinsville.
Earnhardt provided the team with their first championship in 1986, followed by another in 1987. The team would go on to win a total of six championships, cementing RCR’s place among NASCAR’s elite teams.
RCR was also one of the first teams to compete in the new Truck Series when it debuted in 1995. With Mike Skinner behind the wheel, success came right away. During that inaugural season, Skinner and RCR compiled eight wins, 17 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, 10 pole awards and the championship trophy.
In 2001, Richard Childress also became the first car owner in NASCAR history to win championships in all three of the national touring series – Cup, Xfinity and Truck – when Kevin Harvick won the Busch (now Xfinity) Series title.
As the organization prepares to kick off its 50th anniversary season, RCR heads to Daytona International Speedway as the defending Daytona 500 champions with Austin Dillon, with Daniel Hemric prepared to compete in his rookie season in the Cup Series with the iconic No. 8 Chevrolet, plus defending Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick carrying the RCR banner in that series.
While many memories have been made since that first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1969, the goal, drive and determination of those at RCR today is to make even more memories and add to that legacy of success heading into the future.