5 Questions With NASCAR’s Austin Dillon & Richard Childress: Bass Pro, Racing, Fishing & More

by Jim Casey
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Bass Pro Shops celebrated its 50th anniversary during the World’s Fishing Fair at its national headquarters in Springfield, Missouri this year. The one-of-a-kind showcase featured seminars, meet-and-greets, concerts and more from stars across the worlds of fishing, hunting, conservation, country music, and NASCAR.

And Outsider was there to cover the golden anniversary. We sat down for interviews with Bass Pros Shops founder/CEO Johnny Morris, fishing legends Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, and Roland Martin, as well as NASCAR’s Richard Childress, Austin Dillon, Noah Gragson, Martin Truex Jr., and more.

In fact, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Richard Childress—the namesake of Richard Childress Racing—has had a longstanding relationship with Bass Pro Shops that dates back to the 1990s. Now, Richard’s grandson, Austin Dillon, drives the No. 3 Bass Pros Shops Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Cup Series events. We caught up with Richard and Austin to ask them 5 Questions about their relationship with Bass Pro, racing, fishing, and more.

1. How did your relationship with Bass Pro start?

Richard Childress: Well, it was about ’94, ’95. Back in the [Dale] Earnhardt days. And we built a great relationship, friendship, partnership in this—and in conservation. Johnny Morris does a great, great job, for sure.

Austin Dillon: I started racing when I was about 15, which is a little older than most. And my first race car had a Bass Pro logo on the hood. And Johnny and the Morris family have been alongside with me throughout my racing career. We’ve been able to win some championships together and some races. And have a lot of fun in the deer blind, duck blind, on a fishing boat. A little bit of everything.

2. Did your grandfather help instill in you a love of the outdoors?

Austin Dillon: I think so. I think it [started] at the pond behind his house, the first time. He had a lot of different fish food he’d throw out there. And we’d go throw a line and we’d reel them in. So, anytime you can get out with your family and go fishing and hunting, but my real passion, I love to fish. My real passion’s deer hunting. That’s what I love to do. And my grandfather took me my first time when I was seven years old.

3. What’s the key to getting kids and grand-kids interested in the outdoors?

Richard Childress: Well, I think people need to be a mentor to these young people out there. And I think my whole deal is I enjoy spending time with the family, way back when they were just little kids—fishing, hunting, spending time in the outdoors. [There’s] nothing better.

4. Tell us about the fish that got away?

Richard Childress: I’ve got a few of them got away, but I never will forget. I was fishing on the Yellowstone River and a brown trout, I thought it was a log. It was so big [moves hands two feet apart] and that’s not a lie. It was a nice brown trout. Got him close and he got away. I still have the vision of that big brown trout.

5. Tell us about the race that got away?

Austin Dillon: Oh, man. That’s a tough one because you remember a couple of them. One of my first ones for some reason goes always back to a short track days. I was in south Boston and I got a jump on a restart, and kinda gave it back because I felt like I might have jumped the start. And I wish I would’ve never done that because they didn’t call anything. But that was the one that got away.

And at Michigan [International Speedway] last year, that hurt pretty bad. I got wrecked running up through the field. Brad Keselowski got me. So it’s all right. I might need a caution here before too long [laughing].

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