2019 By400 Pacecar Raw

Richard Childress to drive pace car at Indianapolis

NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress will drive the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Pace Car to lead the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field to the start of the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line on Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Richard Childress Racing (RCR) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season as one of NASCAR’s most legendary and winning teams. RCR has accumulated 15 championships and more than 200 victories across NASCAR’s top three series, including three victories in the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard (1995, 2003, 2011) and three Daytona 500 wins (1998, 2007, 2018). RCR was the first organization in NASCAR history to win championships across all three national touring series.

RCR has raced almost exclusively in General Motors vehicles since its inception in 1969, with nearly 3,000 total starts in the Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Buick brands.

The Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Sept. 8. It is the final race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season, setting the field of 16 drivers for the NASCAR Playoffs.

“What an honor it is to have been chosen to lead the field to the green flag at the Brickyard this year,” said Childress, chairman and CEO, Richard Childress Racing. “RCR has had a tremendous amount of success at this historic speedway, all backed by our longest-standing partner in General Motors and the Chevrolet brand. Chevy and RCR have been together for all 50 of RCR’s years as a company, and I couldn’t be prouder to represent them.”

North Carolina native Childress started RCR as an owner-driver, making 285 Cup Series starts over 12 seasons with limited funding and success. Childress decided to retire as a driver and focus on team ownership in 1981.

Ricky Rudd earned RCR’s first Cup Series victory at Riverside International Raceway in September 1983, capping a 14-year quest for Childress and the team to reach Victory Lane.

The team’s greatest success came with the legendary Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel. After making limited starts with RCR in 1981, “The Intimidator” drove full time for the team from 1984 until 2001, winning 67 races and six Cup Series championships in the iconic black No. 3 Chevrolet.

For his contributions to the sport as an independent driver and owner, Childress was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the Class of 2017.

“Richard Childress is a legend of American motorsports, with an incredible record of success in NASCAR,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “His team has created indelible memories for the last 50 years, including popular, emotional victories at the Brickyard with Dale Earnhardt in 1995, Kevin Harvick in 2003 and Paul Menard in 2011.

“Chevrolet has been a consistent, powerful element of RCR’s success over the last 50 years, and we’re also proud of the longstanding partnership between IMS and Chevy. So, it’s very fitting that Richard is receiving the honor of leading the field – including two RCR Chevys – to the green flag at IMS for one of the most prestigious NASCAR races of the year.”

Childress’ first Cup Series start as a driver, in 1969 at Talladega, came behind the wheel of the No. 13 Chevrolet Camaro. RCR’s relationship with Chevrolet is one of the longest between a manufacturer and a team in NASCAR history.

“Richard Childress, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NASCAR are all very special to us,” Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance and Motorsports Jim Campbell said. “That’s why we can’t wait for Richard to lead the field to green in the Camaro ZL1 Pace Car at the Brickyard 400. Richard and his teams have raced with Chevrolet and our company in NASCAR since 1969. He is a championship team owner, a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and a partner and friend to everyone at Chevrolet.”

Childress will drive a red Camaro ZL1 that features:

  • 650-horsepower 6.2L supercharged V-8
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Magnetic Ride Control
  • Electronic limited-slip differential
  • 20-inch forged aluminum wheels
  • Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires
  • Brembo brakes with six-piston front calipers and two-piece rotors
  • 1.02g max cornering
  • 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds
  • Performance Data Recorder (available)

The only content separating the Pace Car from a production model is unique graphics and an integrated Whelen LED safety lighting system.

Chevrolet has a storied history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, and company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the 1911 race, and Gaston Chevrolet won it in 1920.

A Chevrolet has won the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Brickyard 17 times, more than four times as many victories as the next-closest manufacturer.

Practice for the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line will take place Saturday, Sept. 7 at IMS, with qualifying and the 160-lap race scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 8. NASCAR Xfinity Series racing also will take place during the event with the Indiana 250. Practice is Friday, Sept. 6, with qualifying and the race Saturday, Sept. 7.

Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line, Indiana 250, FGL Fest and the Driven2SaveLives BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink, and for more information on the event

— Indianapolis Motor Speedway —