Texas: Robert Richardson Jr. preview

Robert Richardson, Jr. ready to race in front of hometown crowd in Texas McKinney Pipe & Steel and Simmons Prepared Foods on No. 23 Chevrolet CHINA GROVE, N.C. (April 13, 2010) -- Robert Richardson, Jr. won't need to look far for fans when he ...

Robert Richardson, Jr. ready to race in front of hometown crowd in Texas
McKinney Pipe & Steel and Simmons Prepared Foods on No. 23 Chevrolet

CHINA GROVE, N.C. (April 13, 2010) -- Robert Richardson, Jr. won't need to look far for fans when he climbs behind the wheel of the No. 23 McKinney Pipe & Steel Chevrolet this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. He'll have plenty of them at the hauler, around the garage area and in the grandstands.

The native of McKinney, Texas has a drive of about 45 minutes from his home north of the 1.5-mile oval of TMS for this weekend's activities. R3 Motorsports is owned by Texas business owner and rancher Robert Richardson, Sr., who is the driver's father. His mother, Jan, owns McKinney Pipe & Steel, Inc., which will be on the Chevrolet's hood, quarter and TV panels.

The company sells steel to the general public and does fabrication work for the cellular industry, municipalities, bridges and household grills. Their motto is "no job is too big or too small."

Joining them on the car will be Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. They were the highest bidder at a Limbs for Life Foundation auction earlier this year for the decklid area; which was donated by the Richardson's to help the local charity.

The Limbs for Life Foundation is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fully functional prosthetic care for individuals who cannot otherwise afford it and raising awareness of the challenges facing amputees. See LimbsForLife.org for more information.

Making Points: Coming off a 15th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway last Friday with Johnny Sauter behind the wheel, the team rolls in to TMS 27th in the Owner's Points. Solidly locked in the show allows Richardson and Co. to concentrate on putting together another great race by the team, and not worry about making the race. R3 trails the No. 24 team in 26th place by just five markers, and the No. 7 team in 25th place by 12 points.

Car Facts: Steve Plattenberger and team are packing Chassis No. 30 in the hauler for TMS. In addition to being Richardson's favorite car, this Chevrolet was last used at TMS and Homestead in fall of 2009. The car has an entirely new body and will have a new R07 Chevrolet engine bolted in, as well.

Fast Facts: Richardson has five previous starts at the 1.5-mile oval of TMS. His best qualifying effort was 29th in 2008, and best finish was this race last year of 24th place. Through those five starts, he's completed 797 of 1000 laps contested. Brake problems one time and a blown engine another kept him from completing more laps.

QB High School winner: Richardson was the starting quarterback for his McKinney High Lions from his sophomore to senior year. During that time, he accumulated an impressive record of 24-6 as their signal caller. He played one year for SMU and was on the depth chart behind NFL QB Josh McCown. Realizing his playing days would be short, he traded the football helmet for a steering wheel. While he might want to talk about the glory days of McKinney, don't ask him about the team's 6'5' 215 lb defensive end -- Curly Ferris.

Robert Richardson, Jr.:

What do you like about racing at TMS: "It's one of those tracks that I just enjoy racing since my Late Model days. It's big, it's fast, it's in my home state and I love how the track is laid out with the big, fast turns and two different straightaways. I won a Late Model race there one time and, to this day, it's still my favorite racing memory.

This is a big weekend in front of your hometown fans: "Yeah, I won't be lacking any supporters this weekend, that's for sure. With the track being so close to home, I start to get a lot of phone calls from people wanting to get into the track or come to the race. It's nice to hear a few more cheers than usual during driver introductions and know someone is up there watching us."

So, tell us about Curly Ferris: "Oh man. (Laughs) Okay, here's the deal. During high school football, we had a drill called "blood alley" where one guy got the ball and ran straight toward another guy who had to tackle him. During sophomore year, my 5'6", 165 lb self lined up against Curly. He was a 6'5", 215 lb defensive end. The first time I went up against him, I got laid out so hard my helmet turned halfway around my head, my nose bled and both my contacts got knocked out. Coach Billy Whitman picked me up by my facemask and yelled, "Get back in there Richardson!!" So, I did -- same results. But, I earned the respect of my teammates for taking my lumps. Racing is kind of the same way, in some respects."

Why do you have the No. 23: "That was Coach Billy Whitman's number when he played football. He was very instrumental in teaching me a lot about football and life at McKinney High School. We lost him to Lou Gehrig's disease in 2005. He had his number tattooed on his arm, so I tattooed it on my car in honor of him."

-source: rms

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Drivers Johnny Sauter , Robert Richardson Jr.