“You reap what you sow” is a familiar phrase that reminds us if you plant good seeds or do something good for your fellow man, you should expect to reap rewards later. It’s a proverb that declares future consequences are inevitably shaped by present actions.
Richard Childress is a well-known figure in the world of NASCAR and the biofuel industry. He indeed has a proverbial story that has inspired many. Childress started his career as a NASCAR driver in the late 1960s but struggled to find success on the track. However, he never gave up and decided to transition into team ownership.
Childress founded Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 1969 with just $20 to his name. It was a one-man racing team facing numerous challenges and financial difficulties. He had to work multiple jobs to sustain his racing operations, but the seeds of his determination, integrity, and hard work would eventually pay off.
In 1983, Childress made a decision that would change the course of his career. He hired a young driver named Dale Earnhardt, who, like Childress, grew up in an era when nothing came for free and where hard work determined your success. As we know, the rest was history — Earnhardt would go on to become one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time. He reaped what he sowed on the track, and his success behind the wheel propelled RCR to new heights.
As a car owner, Childress has earned more than 200 victories in NASCAR’s top three national series, 16 championships, three Daytona 500 championships, and three Brickyard 400 championships. Notably, six of Childress’ championships were earned with his best friend, Dale Earnhardt, over a dominating eight-year span (1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994). Childress' business acumen and ability to build a winning team took his humble beginnings to one of the most respected teams in NASCAR, with nearly 400 full-time team members supporting the organization.
Childress has sewn prolific seeds off the racetrack as well. He is a businessman, philanthropist, and conservationist — he loves wine, the outdoors, and investing in America’s youth.
He is the proprietor of the award-winning Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC, which has been voted one of the top 25 tasting rooms in America by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, one of the top 100 scenic restaurants in America by OpenTable, and has been acknowledged as the premier vintner in the state of North Carolina with four Governor’s Cup Awards. He sits on the Growth Energy Board of Directors and holds an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Northwestern Ohio. Whether you find him at the track, vineyard, or boardroom, one thing you will always hear is his unwavering support for biofuel and how our industry, like him, will reap what we sow.
In 2017, Richard’s career and contributions to the sport of NASCAR were celebrated throughout the stock car racing community when he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He has also been honored by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame (2016), Motorsports Hall of Fame (2016), National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (2012), International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2011), and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (2008). He received NASCAR’s Buddy Shuman Award in 2011, NASCAR Humanitarian of the Year in 2008, and was the Sporting News Owner of the Year in 2001, 2006, and 2010. His latest accolade is a lifetime achievement award received at the Lee Greenwood Patriot Dinner for his commitment to honoring and
Not only is he incredibly successful, but even more importantly, Richard is a kind, generous, and humble man. Today, he is both well-respected in and out of the NASCAR community and well-liked by all who have the pleasure of knowing him. His journey from rags to riches serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, integrity, and unwavering determination — proving that you truly do reap what you sow.