Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Richard Childress doesn't have the most
car owner victories in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but
he is the only owner who has won this prestigious race with three separate
The Sprint Cup Series will compete at this historic 2.5-mile oval for the 20th
time this weekend. Team owner Rick Hendrick has won there eight times (four
with Jeff Gordon and four with Jimmie Johnson). Childress and Joe Gibbs are
next in line with three victories each.
In April 1993, officials from NASCAR and IMS announced the inaugural Brickyard
400 would be held on Aug. 6, 1994. Several teams in NASCAR's premier series
(then known as Winston Cup) participated in a tire test at Indy prior to that
announcement. Dale Earnhardt was among those who took part in the test.
Childress claimed his first victory at Indy when Earnhardt took the checkered
flag for the second running of the Brickyard 400 in 1995.
"It doesn't seem 20 years ago when Dale Earnhardt pulled up there to run our
first test," Childress said. "I guess that was a year or so before we went up
there and raced, just to see how the Cup cars would do.
"To be able to see that car go around the racetrack in such a historical place
as Indy with all the history there, to have Dale go around there, it was
pretty amazing. That was one of the first memories I have of being at Indy,
other than going up there and jumping the fence one time."
Eight years after Earnhardt's win, Childress returned to victory lane at Indy
when Kevin Harvick won the 400-mile race from the pole.
But Childress' third Brickyard 400 win in 2011 was perhaps his most special
victory there. Paul Menard scored his maiden Sprint Cup win at Indy after
conserving enough fuel late in the race and holding off Gordon in the closing
laps. Menard was in his first season with Richard Childress Racing at the
time. His father, John Menard, had long sponsored and owned cars in the
"What made that so special was knowing that Paul's family was there,"
Childress said. "Knowing what John Menard had put into that, I think he had
entered like 30 some cars over 20 years at Indy, in the Indy 500. To be part
of watching his son win that race was such a special day.
"Riding around the track, that's the neatest part of Indy, is getting to ride
around the track, seeing all the fans hollering. That's really a cool thing
RCR has four drivers entered in this weekend's race at Indy - Harvick, Menard,
Jeff Burton and Austin Dillon, who is a Nationwide Series regular and
Childress' 23-year-old grandson.
Burton has competed in all of the previous 19 Brickyard 400s, but he has yet
to win this race. After finishing a season-best third last week at New
Hampshire, Burton moved up four spots to 17th in the point standings. Seven
races remain before the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins.
"Jeff ran his best race last week at New Hampshire," Childress said.
"Hopefully things are starting to click with him and (crew chief) Luke
(Lambert). He's had some really good runs. We're going to try to get him in
After this season concludes, Harvick is moving over to Stewart-Haas Racing and
taking his Budweiser sponsorship with him. Burton and Menard are under
contract with RCR for 2014. There has been speculation that Dillon will
graduate to Sprint Cup full-time next year and drive the No. 3, as Childress
is considering the return of that car number made famous by Earnhardt.
Childress is currently working on sponsorship opportunities for a fourth car
in Cup next season.
"Right now, we're finalizing some things," he noted. "We have sponsorship on a
third, and we actually have some sponsorship on a fourth. But having it all
finalized and put together, it could be a couple of months down the road
before we have everything ready to do some announcing on any of that."
While a fourth car is in the works for Childress next year, he would love
nothing more than to have another one of his drivers win the Brickyard 400 on
"Hopefully we can add the fourth driver to that list this weekend," he said.
"Not taking anything away from Kevin or Paul, but it would be neat to go win
it with either one of the four."
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