WELCOME, N.C. – Richard Childress Racing’s unveiling of glitzy gold cars Friday at the team’s headquarters celebrated the company’s 50 years in NASCAR, but it also signaled a new era, with a new driver (Daniel Hemric) and a new car number (No. 8) to round out a day flush with announcements.
But amid all the stories about Richard Childress’ humble upbringing and the sport’s “good ol’ days” was another history lesson, this one about the team owner’s recent association with the organization’s newest car number.
“When we originally got the 8, we got it for Ty Dillon,” Childress said, mentioning his grandson, a two-year veteran of the Monster Energy Series. “He was going to come here and run, and then he ended up driving for Germain Racing and GEICO, and we held it another couple of years after that. And so the opportunity came along. I wanted to come up with something brand-new for Daniel and tie the 3 and 8 together here at RCR.”
Dillon drove in both the Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Richard Childress Racing. But instead of following his brother Austin’s path to the Monster Energy Series with his grandfather’s team, Ty Dillon’s ascension to NASCAR’s top division came with an RCR affiliate in the Germain No. 13 Chevrolet.
Chalk the No. 8’s alignment with Hemric up to both timing and a hometown connection. RCR had a full three-car stable locked in with Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard when Ty Dillon was ready to move up the ladder to the Cup Series for the 2017 season. That left the rights to the No. 8 in Childress’ hands for two more years. Bringing it back then made more sense with Hemric, who shares a Kannapolis, North Carolina hometown with the Earnhardt family, which has its own rich history with both RCR and the car number.
Ty Dillon will continue with the Germain No. 13 team in 2019. Though timing and other circumstances kept him from naturally progressing to RCR’s top tier, could Childress envision a home for the 26-year-old Dillon on the Cup Series roster?
“Who knows what the future will allow, but not today,” Childress said. “He’s got a great opportunity with Germain Racing. We’re going to work closer with them this coming year and see if we can add some more to their alliance. I think that Ty’s really, really happy working with Bob Germain and sometimes you look at the Pettys when Kyle didn’t race there and different family members race at other places — Davey, Bobby (Allison), all down the line.
“But I think, sure, I would’ve liked to have seen Ty start his career here, but he’s got his own path. He’s following his own path and he’s really, really happy with Germain, and I’m happy because he’s happy.”