NASCAR Banking 500 Pit Note #12
Richard Childress Comments on Dale Earnhardt Being Voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame - In the first press conference of the afternoon held in the Time Warner Media Center, NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelly spoke with team owner Richard Childress about Dale Earnhardt being voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Childress and Earnhardt worked together for six of Earnhardt's seven NASCAR Sprint Cup titles. Childress was also included in the inaugural class of 25 nominees.
[On being one of the 25 nominees of the inaugural class] - "I really was surprised," said Childress, "because there are so many great pioneers from the sport. There were so many people that have accomplished so much. My being picked to be in that first class of 25 is quite humbling and an honor."
[Talk about your reaction from this week when you saw the five who were selected and, in particular, Dale Earnhardt.] - "I think the choices out of the 25 were phenomenal," said Childress. "They were great choices. You go to Bill France Sr. and all of us wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the things he accomplished. And for his son to come along and be able to move the sport in a totally different direction and carry it to another whole level with his vision. And then you've got Junior Johnson who goes back with so much history. And then you go to Richard Petty with his wins and seven championships. And with Dale Earnhardt, I think there was no way you could not pick him, with his accomplishments. Dale was a great race driver; a champion for the sport. He was an ambassador. He carried the sport to a completely different level - from Wall Street to the guy in the factory or the lady in the mills. You know, he could touch anyone. That was one of the greatest things about his career, he never forgot where he came from at all."
[How would you describe Dale Earnhardt to people who didn't know Dale?] - "That is tough. I know how I would describe him. I know our relationship. He really, really took his fans very passionately. Everything he wanted on the race track, he wanted for them, the fans, and do his best job. He was great to work with. I bet you I could count on one hand the number of disagreements we had and we would work them right out. We knew each other well enough to where I could walk into a room and I would go over and sit down and he would say ‘Alright, what's on your mind?' And I could do the same to him. We had that kind of relationship. It was very unique, but Dale did a lot for people that you never knew about. He tried to help people out once he reached the point where he could. And he never forgot the people that got him to where he was at. He never forgot where he came from. He had that drive about him. He wanted to win."