Richard Childress has been waiting for years to hear his name called for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In fact, he thought he might never live to see the day, admitting he “was told the only way I was going to get in was to retire or be deceased.”
So when Childress wasn’t in attendance on Wednesday night for his Hall of Fame honor, it was noticeable, to say the least. His reasoning? The Richard Childress Racing owner attended a Congressional Pediatric Trauma Briefing in Washington D.C.
Joining North Carolina’s Representatives Republican Richard Hudson and Democrat G.K. Butterfield, Childress spoke about his efforts with the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma.
“Every time you hear a church bell ring, a child dies,” Childress said in a release. “And this is 2016. We have to do something to change that. This country’s losing 10,000 children a year. We want to build a team and have everyone get aboard this team and go out there.”
Telling stories about children who were hit by a vehicle or falling off horses, the concerned owner brought light to an issue that many kids in high-income families don’t have to cope with. Childress noted level one trauma centers are more likely to save these kids’ lives, but not all states have those facilities, much less cities.
“He’s not just someone who uses his celebrity to fly in, fly out and do a photo op,” Hudson said of Childress. “He is someone who invests his time.”
“There is nothing more devastating for a family then losing their precious child,” Butterfield added.
Over his several decades in NASCAR, Childress has become one of its most successful owners. After winning six championships with Dale Earnhardt, the Hall of Fame owner now has a stable that includes Paul Menard, Ryan Newman and grandson Austin Dillon.
Similar to the way he fights for his drivers on a weekly basis, Childress has brought the fight to the Capitol for children. With his backing, the institute remains focused on research and medical education to improve treatment and awareness of pediatric trauma.
“[Kids are] going to be the president, they’re going to be the congressmen and women,” Childress said. “And we have to do something.”