96 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #96 car has started 557 races and has 2 wins, 8 poles, 19 top 5s, 69 top 10s, and 212 DNFs.

  • In 1971 a young man named Richard Childress began racing full time as an owner/driver. Childress’s first shot at NASCAR came two years prior in 1969 when a drivers strike at Talladega created a shortage of drivers. Childress was asked by Big Bill France to scab for the race, and thus began the career of the racing legend.
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RC, 1974

From 1971-1975 Childress stared his #96 car in 108 races, scoring 3 of his 6 career top 5 finishes. For the 1976 season, Childress decided to change his car number to honor Junior Johnson’s past driving success. From that point forward Childress would alway be associated with the #3.

  • From 1956-1973 Bobby Keck started 76 of his 98 career races in the #96 car. Keck was never a front runner, averaging a 20th place finish over his career. He did, however, qualify for every race he attempted except for 1- the 1963 Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville.
  • In late 2005 Hall of Fame Racing was created as a joint venture between former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Tony Raines was the first driver for the team, driving in 29 races in 2006 while Terry Labonte drove in 7. Raines had the best run for the team at the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte leading 23 laps and finishing 7th.
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Hall of Fame Racing announcement in 2005.

For 2007 Raines was named the full time driver of the #96, but that changed as the season developed. Road course ringer Ron Fellows was tapped to drive the car at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Fellows scored the teams top finish of the year coming home 4th at Watkins Glen.

In 2008 the team formed an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing resulting in a manufacturer switch to Toyota and the hiring of former JGR driver JJ Yeley. With Yeley behind the wheel the team quickly fell out of the top 35 in points and struggled making races. Yeley was released from his contract before the year was over, and the team fielded cars with Joey Logano, PJ Jones, Ken Schrader, and Brad Coleman for the remainder of the year.

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JJ Yeley, 2008

For 2009 the team switched to Ford as they merged with The failing Robert Yates Racing. Bobby Labonte was named the driver with sponsorship from Ask.com. However, funding issues would cause Labonte to be removed from the car in favor of Erik Darnell for 7 of the last 12 races. After the 2009 season the team merged with Richard Petty Motorsports, where it was dissolved.

  • Ray Elder was a six time champion of the NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model Series (now K&N West), and would compete in the NASCAR Cup Series events whenever the tour came to the west coast from 1967-1978. 27 of his 31 career starts were in #96, including his 2 wins, both at Riverside in 1971 & 1972.
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Ray Elder and his stylish pit crew.
  • Truck series standout Andy Houston drove the #96 in every one of his 22 Cup series starts. In 2000 he competed in five races to prepare for his 2001 rookie campaign with PPI Motorsports. Out of the five races his best finish would come at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a 26th. Houston began the 2001 year well with a 9th place qualifying effort at the Daytona 500 in the #96 McDonald’s Ford. It would be one of the highlights of the year, as Houston ended the year with no top 10s and a best finish of 17th at Martinsville; Houston only managed to qualify for 17 races and his team folded after McDonald’s pulled its sponsorship late in the season. He has not returned to the Cup Series since.
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Andy Houston, 2001
  • Dale Earnhardt  started the #96 car in 4 races in 1978.
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Dale Earnhardt, 1978
  • Other notable names in the #96
    • Hut Stricklin, 5 races
    • Tiny Lund, 3 races
    • Morgan Shepherd, 2 races
    • Mike Bliss, 2 races
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