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Richmond's Rick Townsend, who built race cars for some of NASCAR's biggest names, has died

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The auto racing community is mourning the death of Henrico’s Rick Townsend, who built race cars for some of the sport’s biggest names.

“God’s gift to him was race cars, and building them to go super fast,” said his business partner, Ricky Dennis. “The other gift was people skills, because everybody loved him and he was super funny.”

Dennis said he believed Mr. Townsend was either 66 or 67. An official obituary has not yet been released. There will be a memorial service on Sunday, Jan. 15 at Bennett Funeral Home in Glen Allen.

Several NASCAR stars took to social media to express their condolences for Mr. Townsend, who died Wednesday.

Mr. Townsend worked out of a garage in Hanover.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a picture from 1996 of the car he used in his Busch Series debut (now the Xfinity Series). It was made by Mr. Townsend.

Earnhardt wrote: “1996. Rick Townsend chassis. Myrtle Beach. I had NO clue how much fun I was having. I worried too much. About everything. Don’t be like that. Enjoy the moment. Tomorrow is gonna figure itself out.”

Rodney Childers, the crew chief for Kevin Harvick, posted his condolences.

“Really hate to hear about the passing of Rick Townsend,” he wrote. “If you were a racer growing up around here you always knew about Townsend Race Cars. And you also knew what kind of person he was. He would help absolutely anyone.”

mphillips@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6546

Twitter: @michaelpRTD

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