Richard Childress Claims RCR Brought Engineering Revolution to NASCAR

Published 11/14/2023, 2:43 PM EST

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With time, technology has rapidly advanced in all forms of motorsports and NASCAR is no different. Engineers have become crucial for any race team. The success of the team heavily depends on them. Now, according to legendary team owner Richard Childress, cars started getting more and more engineer-driven since the mid-80s and it’s all thanks to him.

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There is a vast difference between the cars of the past and those of today. Technological advancements in NASCAR have come at a rapid pace with teams doing everything possible to be the fastest on track. This includes fine-tuning the car to get the best possible performance in every single race. Engineers play an instrumental role in doing that job, which is why they are so important. But how does Richard Childress recount being a pioneer in this regard? 

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Engineering has seen major changes since the 1900s as per Richard Childress, who has seen it all in his long and illustrious career. Everything is about the finest of margins these days. Every single team has an expert set of engineers who fine-tune the cars to the best of their abilities. So the room for error is near negligible.

“One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is the engineering of these cars. The engineering is so much the big key of this new car that we’re running today. It’s mostly engineer-driven and you gotta have a super engineering group behind you and you can miss it just a little bit and you’re out of the race,” the 78-year-old said.

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When asked about the time of the inception of the engineering revolution in NASCAR, Richard Childress didn’t hesitate to claim that he was the one who hired the first-ever engineer to have worked in NASCAR. The 78-year-old also claimed that his competitors, like Jack Roush and Rick Hendrick, followed suit.

“RCR had the very first engineer that I think was even in NASCAR. It was Bobby Hutchens and he had came out of NC State down there and we had hired him to come up and work with us. He was a racer and loved racing and that’s the very first and it started back in ‘86 and as all the other teams got involved, Roush had used engineering with their sports cars and Rick in other areas and that evolution kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and today, at one time, RCR had like 50 some engineers counting the engine shop, race shop, chassis shop and other things that we’re doing,” Childress added.

Richard Childress has also worked with a lot of talented drivers throughout his long and illustrious career. But undoubtedly nobody has been able to match up to the late Dale Earnhardt. The 78-year-old recently revealed that he might end up writing a book about The Intimidator’s stories.

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Despite being his boss, Richard Childress had a cherished friendship with Dale Earnhardt. And it is no secret that the two had become close friends during their time together. The Intimidator had won six of his seven Cup Series titles in RCR cars. It is only natural then that Childress still has bucketloads to talk about his former driver.

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“And Dale stories, man I’ve got so many. I can’t even begin to tell you where. The great Dale Earnhardt stories that, everything from fishing to hunting, to racing, to celebrating at the Walfdorf-Astoria. Our first win. I mean there’s so many out there. Someday I might write a book,” the 78-year-old said.

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Whether he is the reason behind the sport’s engineering revolution is unclear, but he certainly has been one of the biggest figures in NASCAR for decades.

WATCH THIS STORY: The Next Big Thing in NASCAR: A Hint from Hendrick’s Garage

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Edited by:

Abhishek Ramesh

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