Hometown: Riverside, Calif.
Les Richter achieved extraordinary success as both a NASCAR executive and a National Football League defensive star.
After becoming an All-American and All-Pro as a hard-nosed lineman and linebacker, Richter, a native of Fresno, Calif., brought an incomparable work ethic to the world of motorsports. His second career began in 1959 at Riverside International Raceway, where he quickly rose to become president and general manager in 1961.
Richter, affectionately known as “Coach” throughout the motorsports industry, came to NASCAR in 1983 and evolved into one of the most important advisors to then-NASCAR Chairman/CEO Bill France Jr. as NASCAR’s popularity expanded. Richter was named NASCAR's executive vice president of competition in 1986 and the senior vice president of operations in ’92.
His last job in motorsports was as vice president of special projects for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., a track he helped come into existence and then become established as a big-time facility.
Richter was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February of this year.
Richter passed away last June at the age of 79.
This is the latest in a series of GodfatherMotorsports.com biographies profiling the 25 nominees for the 2012 class of the NASCAR Hall Of Fame. Each of the 25 candidates will be profiled in the coming weeks, in alphabetical order.