From Texas Ranch To Sunny Florida, Robert Richardson Jr. Will Race In The Daytona 500by Hunter Thomas February 19, 2016 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It was just about two weeks ago when Robert Richardson Jr. was working on his ranch and received a phone call that put him in BK Racing’s No. 26 StalkIt Toyota Camry for this year’s Daytona 500.
While in Pilot Point, Texas working on his ranch, Robert Richard Jr. got a call from Lane Segerstrom, CEO of StalkIt. Segerstrom was working on a deal to sponsor one of BK Racing’s Toyota Camrys to compete in the 58th running of the Daytona 500, and Richardson Jr. was approached to pilot the car. Although the opportunity was with a well-established team, heading into this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener, Richardson Jr. had to race his way into the event.
“Two weeks ago I was at home working on my ranch, got a phone call from Lane Segerstrom from StalkIt, saying he was trying to put a deal together trying to run the Daytona 500,” Richard Jr. said. “This was two weeks ago. A lot of guys start preparing for this race as soon as the season ends from last year.”
Although Richardson Jr. is no stranger to restrictor plate racing, the pressure to race your way into one of the biggest races of the season will give any driver chills. Heading into the Can-Am Duel at Daytona on Thursday night, there were four starting spots up for grabs, and he was able to capture the final one.
“Man, it’s a night and day difference,” said Richardson Jr. when asked the difference between being locked in and having to race your way in to the Daytona 500. “The stress that I’ve been putting just on myself in general to make this race, I’ve been pacing the floor ever since I woke up this morning just eager to get this race underway, just eager to see how the outcome would happen.
“I’m still in awe that this happened. I’m very, very thankful for Mike Ford, for Ron Devine, Toyota, Lane Segerstrom with StalkIt, my family, friends, wife. I just couldn’t be more blessed than I am right now.”
He finished 18th in the second Duel, but the way that the storyline played out, Richardson Jr. made this year’s Daytona 500 off his qualifying time after his BK Racing teammate, Matt DiBenedetto who was already locked into the race, beat David Gilliland on Thursday night.
“They (Richardson Jr. and his team) put themselves in the fourth qualifying position, which was huge,” DiBenedetto said. “It allowed us to have a good position going into the race.
I knew I didn’t have anything to lose other than go out there and race my tail off to try to get Robert in.”
Richardson Jr., a 33-year old Texas native has competed in the Daytona 500 on two previous occasions. His first appearance in the prestigious race came back in 2010 when he finished 31st while competing for Front Row Motorsports. His second attempt came a year later, and after starting 28th, he was caught up in an accident for the second year in a row and was forced to retire from the event in 38th.
As for this weekend, Richardson Jr. is continuing to stay humbled and is looking to put on a competitive performance come Sunday afternoon. He and his wife just had a baby boy back in December, and he says that all of this weekend’s earnings will go towards the boy’s college fund.
“I’m very, very honored to be a part of BK Racing, having another opportunity to run here at the Daytona 500,” Richardson Jr. said. “I’ve been in it once before, but this one is very, very special to me. My wife and I welcomed our brand‑new baby boy who was born in early December. Every bit of earnings we get from this race is going to go into a college fund for him.
“It’s just the good Lord looking down on us and blessing us. Got to give all the glory to Him.”
Coverage for the 58th running of the Daytona 500 will broadcast live on FOX and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Photo Credit: NASCAR