NASCAR Hall of Famers Childress, Knaus Meet With Media Prior To Pre-Race Dignitary Roles

A pair of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees met with media on Sunday, prior to their pre-race dignitary roles as part of the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Six-time NASCAR Cup Series champion team owner Richard Childress will serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver on Sunday, while seven-time Cup Series title-winning crew chief Chad Knaus, will handle Grand Marshal duties.

Childress has two cars from his Richard Childress Racing team competing on Sunday at North Wilkesboro, with Kyle Busch locked into the All-Star Race and Austin Dillon kicking off race day in the All-Star Open. As an owner, Childress has five Cup Series victories at North Wilkesboro (in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1995) with Dale Earnhardt. Childress’ driving career featured a sixth-place finish in North Wilkesboro’s fall points-paying race in 1977.

“North Wilkesboro was one of my favorite tracks as a driver, and it’s one of my favorites as an owner,” the 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee said on Sunday. “I just love it. I think my first race here was 1971. I remember coming up here, this was a place where everybody brought their families and you’d have lunch in the infield. I’ll never forget I spun out in qualifying in Turn 2, it was wet, I hit the wall and (then-Track President) Enoch Staley ran up to me and said, ‘Boy, you tore my fence down!’

“Those were some fun days. Back then, I enjoyed having fun more than I enjoyed racing, but I raced to have fun. So, it worked out really good.”

Knaus, a 2024 inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the vice president of competition for Hendrick Motorsports, won seven championships and a record four All-Star Races with fellow Hall of Famer Jimmie Johnson. Knaus will give the command to start engines prior to Sunday night’s event.

“It’s an honor to be here as the grand marshal,” Knaus said. “One interesting note: When we last raced (a points-paying Cup Series race) here in 1996, Jeff Gordon won and I was a right-rear tire changer on the pit crew, so I made the elevator ride up to Victory Lane.”

Knaus touched on the different Goodyear tire options afforded to drivers in teams in Sunday’s All-Star Race: a softer, Option tire — with red writing — and the standard, “Prime” tire with yellow lettering.

“Managing the differential between the (prime, normal tire) and the (softer, option) is going to be important. It’s a coarse track, which is going to be good. The heat’s going to open it up and I think it’s going to provide some good racing.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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