Richard Childress Racing pit crew member Donald "D.J." Richardson Jr., passed away Dec. 25 in a Massachusetts hospital from complications of the H1N1 virus. He was 37.
Richardson, of Leominster, Mass., contracted the H1N1 virus over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was admitted to Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster for evaluation, where it was determined he was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome.
"All of us at RCR are saddened by D.J.'s passing," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "D.J. was a gifted tire changer, one of the greatest team players in the business and a valued member of the RCR family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends."
Richardson joined RCR in July 2009 and finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the rear-tire changer for the No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS team. He began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999. He has also worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing.
"I am shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and teammate," said Matt Clark, director of human performance and leadership development of Richard Childress Racing. "Anyone who knew D.J. realized that below the tough exterior was a caring father, friend and teammate. He had a huge heart and would do anything to help someone in need. D.J. loved changing tires and was recognized as one of the top pit athletes at the position. I want to extend my condolences to his family and friends."