NHRA'S greatest drivers: No. 45 -- Scotty Richardson

Scotty Richardson has never worked the controls of a 320-mph Top Fueler, patiently guiding it down the quarter-mile. He hasn't stared down Pro Stock's Warren Johnson in an intense starting line battle. He also hasn't wrestled a ...

Scotty Richardson has never worked the controls of a 320-mph Top Fueler, patiently guiding it down the quarter-mile. He hasn't stared down Pro Stock's Warren Johnson in an intense starting line battle. He also hasn't wrestled a nitro-breathing Funny Car to a thrilling four-second run.

However, year after year the soft-spoken Goodlettsville, Tenn. racer continues to prove himself as one of NHRA's greatest drivers. Richardson, arguably the most talented sportsman driver ever, is a master of many of drag racing's most technically challenging categories. Richardson may not clock speeds over 300 mph, but he does predict -- within unbelievable accuracy -- his car's exact performance on every run. At most national events, he competes in more than one eliminator category. And while starting line performances are often overlooked in professional categories, Richardson uses his great driving skill to generate superior reaction times in defeating many of his competitors. Richardson, who fell in love with the sport of drag racing while bracket racing his father's station wagon as a teen-ager, has had a great ride during his 12 years of competition in NHRA, recording 33 national event victories in 44 final rounds in five Sportsman eliminators - Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street. His accomplishments include: * Five NHRA national championships - in Super Comp (1991, 1993, and 1994), Super Gas (1994), and Stock (1996). * One of only six drivers to have won two eliminators at the same NHRA national event - Super Comp and Super Street at the 1995 Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals. * Is the only driver to win two national championships in the same year - Super Comp and Super Gas in 1994. * Nearly duplicated his 1994 championship effort in 1996, winning the national championship in Stock, but losing a national championship tie-breaker with Matt Driskell for the Super Comp crown. * Has winning final-round record in divisional competition - a combined 23-7 in Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, and Super Gas. * Between 1991 and 1998, was division champion five times in Super Comp and once in Super Gas in Divisions 1, 3, and 4. * Counting his win in Super Pro at the 1989 Division 4 Eastern Bracket Finals, Richardson has won 57 of 75 final rounds, and that doesn't include numerous big money bracket race wins, such as the Sunoco Five-Day E.T. Championships at Moroso Motorsports Park in West Palm Beach, Fla., at which he has been overall champion twice. NHRA's Top 50 Drivers will be unveiled on NHRA.com and through the pages of National DRAGSTER, in reverse order throughout the 2001 season, with a schedule leading up to the naming of the top driver at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway on Nov. 11. As NHRA celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2001, it has emerged as one of the most popular spectator sports, highlighted by a $50 million, 24-event, nationally televised tour. The NHRA has developed into the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body, with more than 80,000 members nationwide, and more than 140 member tracks.

<pre> NHRA's 50 GREATEST DRIVERS 50. Elmer Trett 49. Richard Tharp 48. Malcolm Durham 47. Billy Meyer 46. Ken Veney 45. Scotty Richardson

-NHRA-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson