Motor sports: Pilot Point's Richardson running partial schedule

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Robert Richardson Jr. practices Feb. 20 for a Nationwide Series race in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Robert Richardson Jr. is chasing a better result in his second NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season, not to mention a little more time on the track.

The Pilot Point resident will be looking to qualify and race today in the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, after his No. 23 Chevrolet lasted only 12 laps and he finished 38th in the season opener two weeks ago at Daytona.

“We had a blown motor at Daytona,” Richardson said this week during a phone interview from his home. “We’re looking forward to getting out there and hopefully putting on a good race.”

The McKinney native and former SMU quarterback said he currently has sponsorship lined up to run five more races this season for his family-owned R3 Motorsports team. Those events include both races at Texas Motor Speedway, the summer race at Daytona and one race apiece at Indianapolis and Talladega. He said he possibly could add a race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Richardson said the team is sharing its entry with Rick Ware Racing. That keeps the No. 23 Camaro on the track in weeks when R3 doesn’t have funding to let Richardson drive. Under that arrangement, Carlos Contreras finished 29th last week at Phoenix International Raceway.

Running the car every week means it keeps collecting owner points, which helps with making races.

Richardson has backing from Stalk It Longboards and its CornBoard brand. He said CornBoard is a plywood alternative made from corn stover — a byproduct of corn harvesting — that is used in Stalk It’s surfboards, skateboards, paddleboards and pallets.

For his races in Fort Worth, Richardson has sponsorship from Willbros Group Inc., which serves oil and gas operations including horizontal drilling.

R3 Motorsports ran the entire Sprint Cup schedule in 2012 with Richardson and Scott Riggs, but Richardson said costs associated with engines and the Generation-6 bodies introduced last year became too much for the little team.

“We’ve shut that down for now,” he said. “We would have had to come out of pocket quite a bit.”

Richardson, who has made eight Cup starts on superspeedways, said the scenario most likely to get him back into a car on NASCAR’s senior circuit would have one of his sponsors approaching another team for a short-term deal.

Last season, Richardson made 14 Nationwide starts with a best finish of ninth at Daytona — his first top-10 in NASCAR competition. He was 29th at Las Vegas.

“I want to get out of there with hopefully a top-20, top-25 finish,” he said of his latest trip west. “It’s important that we have a good run this weekend.”

MATT CRIDER can be reached at 940-566-6906.


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