Driver will take part in first full Speedweeks at World Center of Speed
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 6, 2010) – Robert Richardson, Jr. has raced in his share of events at Daytona International Speedway before. But, for the dawning of this new decade, the McKinney, Texas native will partake in his first full Speedweeks at Daytona by competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
And, the largest task at hand is the running of his first Daytona 500. He will qualify 15th, of 54 drivers, during Saturday’s session to determine his starting spot in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel 150s.
In a guaranteed starting spot driving the No. 38 Mahindra Tractors USA Ford for Front Row Motorsports with Doug Yates, Richardson is coming in to the event wide-eyed with anticipation and excitement. With the new rules set forth by NASCAR allowing for bump-drafting and a larger restrictor plate, one might think Richardson has some reserves about the Great American Race.
He got his first taste of Sprint Cup competition in last November’s event at Talladega Superspeedway. Driving the No. 36 for Tommy Baldwin Racing, Richardson finished a commendable 18th place in his Sprint Cup debut.
Thoughts on bumpdrafting: "Heck yeah, bring it on," said the 27-year old quarterback turned driver. "The bump drafting doesn’t faze me a bit. I know I’m racing against the best-of-the-best out there in the Duel 150s and 500. But, I also know we’re smart enough to police ourselves so we won’t do it in the corners or 10 laps into the race, either. We all know we have to be there at the end to have a good finish. Nobody wants to be in the garage just 15 laps into this race."
On making your first Daytona 500 start: "It seems surreal sometimes that I’m actually going to be in the race. The history and prestige that comes with being part of it is something all by itself. I was watching a commercial for the race during the NFL playoffs and it just kind of hit me that, for the first time, instead of watching the race – I’m running the Daytona 500. It’s an honor, that’s for sure.
"But, I also know me and 42 other drivers are going for the same thing out there. The honor and prestige is nice, but the competitor in me takes over and wants to do the best job possible."
What about finding drafting partners: "That’s something I’m going to have to do in the practices and Duel 150. Because so many of these guys have drafted together before, they know what to expect from each other. I’m going to have to earn their respect and show I can run and work with them. That’s one challenge I’m up for and looking forward to – proving my worth with the veterans."
Will running both the 500 and Nationwide races be overextending yourself?: "No, I don’t see that as anything but a positive. The more laps you can make on a track, even it’s in two different kinds of equipment, can only benefit me. Between getting more comfortable with the track and working with the other drivers, it can be nothing but beneficial to me."
Did you know: Richardson has scored six top-20 finishes at the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega between Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series events. And, he graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Studio Art with a minor in photography.
Chassis Info: Richardson will utilize a chassis purchased from Yates Racing before being bought by FRM. The car has never been raced, but was tested at Talladega Superspeedway.
He has the power: With their new alliance, FRM with Doug Yates will be utilizing the legendary power plants of Roush Yates Engines.