50 Greatest Drivers: #37--Edmond Richardson
'NHRA's 50 GREATEST DRIVERS ...
'NHRA's 50 GREATEST DRIVERS
#37: EDMOND RICHARDSON Statistically, he ranks among the most successful sportsman racers in NHRA history with 38 national event wins, three national championships, and 12 division titles. Heading into the 2001 season, only nine drivers have won more NHRA national events. Edmond Richardson's stats don't entirely illustrate his domination of sportsman racing or sufficiently justify the impact he's had on the sport. Whether racing in Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Stock, Stock, Super Street, or E.T. brackets -- all classes where driver skill far outweighs mechanical aptitude -- Richardson has ruled for two decades. Growing up in Ft. Worth, Texas, Richardson began racing well before he was old enough to legally drive on the highway. By the time he was 11, he rode his 100cc Yamaha to the Street eliminator championship at the defunct Green Valley Race City. In 1984, at age 21, he claimed the first of his division titles when he won the Division 4 Super Street championship. Two years later, he became the first driver to win two division championships in the same season (Division 4: Super Comp and Super Gas). Richardson didn't break through for his first national event win until the 1990 Chief Nationals, but by then, he had already established himself as one of drag racing's most dominant Sportsman racers with six division championships, the 1989 Winston Super Comp crown, and a host of big-money E.T. wins. Richardson's best season was arguably 1992 when he won eight national events and the Winston Super Comp title. That year, he also joined Pat Austin as the only driver to win two national event titles at the same event when he scored the Super Comp and Super Street titles at the Southern Nationals. Richardson didn't win another national championship until he claimed the Stock title in 2000, but in between, he collected national event titles at an alarming pace, often wading his way through huge fields consisting of more than 100 other competitors. Richardson has, at times, made the difficult task of racing two cars at a national event look ridiculously simple. He has doubled six times-- twice during the 1999 season when he went on a yearlong rampage that netted seven national event wins including a pair of doubles in Madison and Brainerd. Those wins led to the 1999 Division 2 Super Comp title and a pair of top-10 finishes in Super Comp and Stock. More recently, Richardson's success has extended well beyond his on-track accomplishments. Refusing to believe those who have long maintained the philosophy that one can't make a living as a sportsman racer, he has built a drag racing empire that rivals that of many of the sport's top professional teams. He often has had as many as five or six race-ready cars at his disposal and has had little trouble attracting the kind of corporate backing needed to function at a high level. A dedicated family man who often travels with his wife, Sue, and four children, Richardson is still going strong, and at just 37 years old, there is no telling what kind of numbers he might post before one day hanging up his helmet. In 2001, he is preparing for another multi-category assault in Super Comp and Super Stock, and he plans to put his 16-year-old daughter, Ashley, a former Jr. Drag Racing League racer, into one of his Super Comp dragsters this season. NHRA's Top 50 Drivers will be unveiled on NHRA.com and through the pages of National DRAGSTER, in reverse order throughout the 2001 season, with a schedule leading up to the naming of the top driver at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway on Nov. 11. As NHRA celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2001, it has emerged as one of the most popular spectator sports, highlighted by a $50 million, 24-event, nationally televised tour. The NHRA has developed into the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body, with more than 80,000 members nationwide, and more than 140 member tracks.
<pre> NHRA's 50 GREATEST DRIVERS 50. Elmer Trett 49. Richard Tharp 48. Malcolm Durham 47. Billy Meyer 46. Ken Veney 45. Scotty Richardson 44. Dave Schultz 43. Frank Hawley 42. David Rampy 41. John Mulligan 40. Frank Manzo 39. Danny Ongais 38. James Warren 37. Edmond Richardson
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This Week in Racing History (March 25-31)