Robert Richardson Set to Honor Fallen Coach at Texas Truck Race 22-Year-Old Fresh Off Career-best Southeast Series Race McKINNEY, TX (November 2, 2005) -- As Robert Richardson heads to Texas Motor Speedway this coming weekend, he is on top of...
Robert Richardson Set to Honor Fallen Coach at Texas Truck Race
22-Year-Old Fresh Off Career-best Southeast Series Race
McKINNEY, TX (November 2, 2005) -- As Robert Richardson heads to Texas Motor Speedway this coming weekend, he is on top of the world in one respect. The 22-year-old driver will enter his second career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in front of hometown fans. He will get the chance to continue his step up the racing ladder and show the NASCAR crowd what he is capable of.
At the same time though, Richardson heads to Texas with a heavy heart after the loss of someone who helped him set the foundation for his racing career. Richardson's former football coach Billy Whitman might not have been a crew chief, mechanic or driving instruction, but he instilled the discipline in Richardson to guide him into a competitive sport. Whitman passed away last week after a battle with Lou Gehrig's disease.
"These last few days have been pretty emotional for me," Richardson said. "My high school football coach passed away this week and I went to his funeral yesterday. He's always been there for me and been a big mentor in my life. He taught me that competitive edge. He was kind of like my other dad. He was always there for me and he was someone that I could look up to and talk to. It's hard to see someone like that go."
Whitman's memory will be close to Richardson's heart at Texas.
"I'm going to dedicate everything that happens at Texas to him," said Richardson. "It would be a great deal to make the show at Texas and finish the race for him."
Richardson heads to Texas with some momentum on his side after he finished up his regular season in the NASCAR Southeast Series last weekend at Montgomery Speedway (AL). In that event, Richardson drove his #33 entry to a career-high fifth place finish. That was good enough to move him into the top 10 in the point standings, a major goal for Richardson and his team.
"That was what we needed. We ended the season on a good note and made it into the NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown."
Only the top 10 in the SES point standings are invited to the All Star Showdown on November 12th at Irwindale Speedway (CA). Richardson entered the season finale 11th in the point standings and appeared he would be safely in the prestigious show due to the fact that Jason Hogan, who was ranked second in SES points, had stated his intentions to decline an invitation to California, but Richardson didn't want to reply on that way into the big race.
"It's not charity now," said Richardson.
The reason that Richardson had slipped out the top 10 in the SES standings was that he did not enter last month's SES event at South Georgia Speedway. Instead he elected to make his Truck Series debut at Las Vegas.
"We missed a race at that hurt us a little bit, but we felt confident that we could get that spot back and that is why we went to Las Vegas to run the Truck Series race. We fought back and got our top 10 out of the season. We're happy about that."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Silverado 350 is scheduled for Friday, November 4th at 9:00pm. It will be televised live on SPEED Channel.