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January 20, 2017

Judy Childress

Richard Childress

Ty Dillon

Austin Dillon

Charlotte, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by the family of Richard Childress. Joining him is his wife Judy as well as Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers and grandsons, Austin and Ty Dillon.
A reminder on a couple of Richard's career accomplishments. He won six premier series championships with inaugural NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and was the first owner to win a championship in all three national series, that was highlighted this evening. Let's go ahead and turn it over for questions.

Q. Richard, you mentioned and it was mentioned also before, you had so much success in NASCAR, especially with Dale Earnhardt. Did you ever play with the idea after having so much success in NASCAR to move or to look into other motorsport disciplines, to start something else?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yes, we've considered it, and we ran ARCA. Ty won a championship for us. But I think you're thinking about IndyCar or Formula1 or something like that?

Q. Sports cars‑‑
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, I'm not too old not to do it yet, so we may try. Thank you. (Laughter.)

Q. Judy, I just talked a moment ago with Linda Hendrick about some of the early memories and literally helping Rick work his way through this process. Can you talk about some of the early memories? We heard about you in the truck sleeping with the baby, he's sleeping underneath. Can you talk about some of the other things like that that you remember?
JUDY CHILDRESS: Well, I know that we traveled quite a bit. But we had a lot of fun. It was a new experience for me, and the first experience with a dirt track was real exciting. I wore all white, and I didn't know we were going to a dirt track. I didn't know much about racing, other than he just loved it.
So we had quite a few experiences. We went to Charlotte, North Carolina, and it was so hot, it was about 100 degrees, and so we got a hotel room, a motel room, and Tina and I went to the hotel and slept.
And then Richard came in, and he said, we've got to go home, a windshield. I can't get in because my windshield was broke. We were out hunting for a windshield for his car so he could drive the next day. We've had quite a few experiences. We went cross country, and we just had great experiences through our life. We just went and had a wonderful time.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: We had to rent a car and took the windshield out of it.
LINDA HENDRICK: That's the end of the story.

Q. Did you swap them?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: No, I just took it back.

Q. How did you run that day? Did you do all right?

Q. Did you take it back without the windshield?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: No, we put it back in.

Q. RC, I was a little bit surprised that James Hylton wasn't somehow involved in your induction tonight. You raced with that group of guys for so long. Could you see a point coming that you were going to take it up to this next level with what happened in the '80s and Dale coming along, or could you just have raced until you ran out of money, driving?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, I wasn't ready to retire. I think I was 34, 35, somewhere in my 30s. But I could see all the new money coming. We seen the Warner Hutchisons, J.D. Stacy, M. C. Anderson, all the money started coming into the sport, and I could run in the top 10 and have some pretty decent runs. But I kept falling back every time a new owner would come in there, and I just wasn't quite having the fun I was having, and I just decided it was going to be the time if an opportunity came along to get out of the car, and that opportunity came with Dale Earnhardt in 1981.

Q. You talked about buying that first piece of land or that first shop because of Talladega. Where was that shop? Was it in Winston‑Salem or in Davidson County somewhere, and secondly, how hard was it for you to get out of the race car in 1981 and turn it over to Dale because it had to be a really tough decision.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, that shop was on Highway 109. It was 4,000 square feet in Davidson County. And yeah, it was hard, but I knew that if I didn't get out of the car that it was going to get tougher and tougher seeing all the new money coming in, and the opportunity was there with Dale. We put that deal together in Anniston, Alabama, Oxford, Alabama, I guess it was back in the day, in that area.

Q. You talked about a kid who sold popcorn and peanuts at Bowman Gray. Why did you do that? Was there something about Bowman Gray that attracted you or did you need the five cents for popcorn or whatever the price was that day?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, you got a penny for every bag of popcorn and two cents for peanuts. I mean, peanuts was a penny and popcorn was two because a big box, you couldn't carry as much.
No, I went over there and my stepdad carried myself and my brother over there when we was kids, probably six, seven, eight years old, probably seven, eight years old, and we watched a race. So we asked him if we could go back, and he said, well, I can't take you over there. I don't know if he was working or what. I said, can we walk. It was four or five miles, so we'd walk over there to the stadium and try to hang out with the drivers, and then follow somebody in or jump the fence or whatever we had to do to get in to get a job. You might make a dollar, 75 cent or a dollar that night, and it was good money back in those days. I fell in love with racing. You couldn't sell nothing when the race was going on so I'd sit down and watch it and I'd watch my heroes, Billy Myers and Bobby Myers and Curtis Turner, Len Wood. These were my heroes, not Johnny Unitas and all the big football players and people of that era. I knew then that that's what I wanted to be was a race driver some day.

Q. Austin and Ty, been over to the race shop before and Richard has talked about I've got the grandpa hat and I've got the owner hat. Can you talk about how he goes back and forth between those two hats and if maybe that gets blurred sometimes?
AUSTIN DILLON: The greatest thing is he always encourages us. I think Mark Martin said it tonight. Our family has always gave us what we needed to do our job, and then also the encouragement of always telling us that we could accomplish what we wanted to do.
But as far as the owner side of it, you know, he is a man of his word, and he's always been that, and I think he's proven that with instances throughout his career that if he says something, he's going to do it, and you expect that as one of his drivers. I'm his grandson, and I expect it more than probably most of the drivers because he's going to be hard on my brother and I. More than anything, we want to accomplish a lot for him, and the one championship that I got for RCR, it means a lot for me‑‑ two actually, excuse me, Truck Series and XFINITY Series, and the one I'm missing is the third one, and I'm going to do whatever I can to bring him that third championship. I hope he stays on my butt. That's what I need. I need his leadership and his drive to take us to that next level.
TY DILLON: Yeah, I think his motivation comes from many different ways, and I think that growing up around him and knowing the kind of person he is, like Austin said, he's a man of his word that makes me want to be a man of my word. It motivates me to want to go out and say what I want to do and accomplish that goal just like he's done his whole career. That's what he wanted to do is drive race cars and be in this sport, and look today he's in the Hall of Fame.
Also he motivates us by telling us to get up on the wheel and puts the owner cap on and says you boys got to go make it happen. You got to see a little bit of the ways that he motivates us by being a great grandfather and a great owner.
AUSTIN DILLON: He always does say, hey we've got to have some fun, but I don't know if he really takes it in when he says it. He's walking by when he says it, but he always wants us to have fun, so that's pretty special to have a guy that wants you to do well but he wants you to have fun doing it.

Q. Richard, as hard as it was for you to get out of the car in 1981, how hard was it for you to tell Dale that he should go elsewhere until you were ready to win races, and were you ever afraid that you might not get him back?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, that's a great question. I never will forget, we wasn't really ready to run Dale Earnhardt, but the opportunity was there, and we was at the old Sheraton in Darlington, Florence, South Carolina, where we all use to stay and we sat in the car that evening, got us a six pack and we sat in the car and talked about it, and I just told Dale, I said, Dale, I'm not ready to race you. You need to go somewhere and race for somebody else. He gave me his choices. The 28, they wanted to hire him over there with Stacy had just bought it, also. He had two good opportunities, I can't remember the other one, and the other one was Bud Moore, and I said, Dale, I'm still looking at myself as a driver. I said, you ought to go drive for Bud Moore because he's a racer, and he'll help you all the way, and that's how that happened.
We were in a hunting club in South Carolina, and we'd get in the bunk beds at night. He'd always make me get on the top, and we'd be there, and he would‑‑ we'd lay in there with the lights out and talk about racing and what we wanted to accomplish. We knew we wanted to get back together, and there was a lot of things that some day I may write a book and tell really‑‑ you'd be surprised how really all of these things, the people that was tangled in that web.
TY DILLON: We've been trying to get him to write a book for a while, so every time you all see him, please start pressuring him to write the book. We want to know all the stories, too.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Write the good stories. Some I can't tell. She did get on to me last night‑‑ I said something to the media or something. Oh, I know what I said. I was wrong.

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