The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Life in the Fastlane

Mustang alumnus Richardson stampeding through the ranks of professional stock car racing

By Austin Kilgore

Editor in Chief

[email protected]


When Robert Richardson was a student on the Hilltop, he spent his time trading hits on the football field and painting in the studios of the Meadows School of the Arts. Now days, Richardson spends his time trading paint with NASCAR stars Mark Martin, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.

Richardson is a racecar driver, and currently competes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the beginning ranks of NASCAR’s elite world of stock car racing.

Richardson began racing in 2001, while studying art at SMU. He participated in the driving schools offered at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth before racing Legends cars-scaled down versions of 1930s-style sedans.

“After leaving the football team, I still had that competitive edge. I wanted to keep that fire alive, I wanted to stay involved in a team-based sport,” Richardson said.

He then moved into the ROMCO Super Late Model Series. As his career progressed, he entered the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division racing stock cars with fiberglass bodies that are light and fast. He later raced in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, as well as the ARCA Re/Max Series, where many NASCAR greats have gotten their start, and many major teams field drivers in driver development programs.

In 2005, Richardson competed in three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events, including one at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. In 2006, Richardson entered in his first full season of truck competition.

Richardson’s road to the racetrack has not been paved in gold, however, and he has spent much of his first full season in NASCAR learning the harsh realities of racing. He has only qualified for six of the season’s eight races, with an average starting position of 30th.

Some of Richardson’s struggles are due to his team. His father, Robert Richardson, Sr. is his car owner, and while many teams have technical support from car manufacturers and anywhere from 50-80 people involved, the Richardson team is going in without factory support and a crew of less than 10 people. And while many of NASCAR’s big teams are able to bring a different car to each track, the Richardson team is very limited in their resources.

“We took our Daytona truck to Martinsville,” Richardson said, comparing one of NASCAR’s longest tracks to the series’ shortest.

“Our mechanics are just as good as anybody else,” he said. “We just have fewer of them. [But] we’re definitely at a disadvantage.”

NASCAR racing is a big business, and Richardson estimates it will cost $3 to $4 million to run the full season.

While Richardson’s father has financed most of his racing ambitions, the family is not going in alone this year. Their team has primary sponsorship with Benchmark Mortgage and In addition to financing the team, sponsorship has allowed Richardson the opportunity to film a couple of television commercials, something he said gives him the chance to use some of the artistic abilities he developed while at SMU.

Despite many setbacks, Richardson will not be deterred. He hopes his luck will change when the truck series comes to TMS on June 9 for the Sam’s Town 400.

TMS is a special place for Richardson, who said he has been attending races at the track since it opened in 1997. He considers it his “home track,” and said he feels he will be comfortable coming back to Fort Worth.

Richardson said he has learned a lot this season, not just about racing, but also about himself.

“I wasn’t expecting to be as lenient as I am on the racetrack,” he said. “We have to race with these guys all season long, and all the veteran drivers give me respect, and I do the same.”

Richardson says this season has got his confidence up, and while there are struggles, he is doing everything he can to be a better driver and earn the respect of his fellow competitors.

Richardson hopes a few more seasons in the truck series will lead to better performance on the track and increased sponsorship, which is the key component for any rising talent trying to make his way up through racing’s ranks.

“I hope to be in the Busch Series in a year or two,” he said. “If we can get some more sponsorship, we can go to one of the bigger teams with our sponsor and try to get a ride with them.”

The road to racing glory is a long one, but Richardson is taking it one lap at a time.

More to Discover