Monday, September 8, 2014

Learning about NASCAR at the RCR Racing Museum, Welcome, NC

The Good Girls admit they don't know a lot about NASCAR, but they recognize the names Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, A.J. Foyt and Jeff Gordon. Residing in Florida, they also know the story of the France family who helped establish racing in Daytona Beach. Their recent visit to Lexington, NC put them in the neighborhood of Welcome, North Carolina, home to the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Museum, and the Girls figured they'd get a warm reception. Come on, who wouldn't in Welcome - right?
Entrance to the RCR Racing Museum

They met Steve Ramey, Museum Manager, who indeed took them on a guided tour. The RCR Museum is an immense 47,000-square-foot facility that encompasses the original No. 3 race shop built in 1986 and the original RCR Museum built in 1991. A 3,500-square-foot structure was constructed between the two buildings to tie it all together.

RCR Racing Museum Lobby

Dale Earnhardt No 3- 1998 Winner at Daytona 500

Many rooms in the museum showcase cars, displays, memorabilia and photographs, including NASCAR Winston Cup championship banners and NASCAR Winston Cup championship owner’s trophies. Visitors find all 25 No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolets driven by Dale Earnhardt (Sr), but the highlight is the 1998 Daytona 500 winning car that Dale drove to victory. There are also 16 video screens in the facility replaying key victories and you can walk through a retired race hauler- a giant truck that carries two race cars to events and is stocked with all sorts of back-up parts and equipment. 

Childress started as a race car driver in the NASCAR's top series in 1969. He went on to record six top-five and 76 top-10 finishes in 285 starts. He finished fifth in the point standings in 1975. However, he decided to retire as a driver in mid-1981, naming Earnhardt to finish the season in his car.

Childress' real success came from building teams and cars, and sponsoring Dale Earnhardt. Their legendary partnership continued until Dale's tragic death on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. 

Austin Dillon Car
Today, Richard's grandson, Austin Dillon, is embarking on his first-full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and competing for 2014 Rookie of the Year honors. He now drives the historic No. 3 on his Chevrolet. 

Before leaving, the Good Girls also met crew member Danny "Chocolate" Myers and his personable wife. They learned that Chocolate was the gas man for the #3 GM Goodwrench Chevy driven by Earnhardt. Over the past 18 years Chocolate and team owner Richard Childress have visited victory lane no less than 83 times. Chocolate now works on the radio and TV.    
Chocolate Myers

Having seen how Richard Childress made his fortune, the Good Girls planned to  visit a place more familiar to them the next day - the Childress Vineyards.

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