The late Dale Earnhardt won't be forgotten by future generations of stock car racing fans. It's easy to come to that conclusion simply by the number of black and white 3s still seen on hats, shirts, cars and trucks across the country. Those who are fans of the seven-time Winston Cup champion can get an added dose of their superstar by visiting the newly remodeled and expanded Richard Childress Racing Museum in Welcome, North Carolina, the home of number 3.
When "RC," as Richard Childress is called, redid his museum, his priority was authenticity. Much like his racing endeavors, he set a standard for others to follow with this museum. First off, the building is the old number 3 shop where all those winning Chevys were built and maintained. So not only are you seeing the actual hardware, you're also seeing it in the actual shop they were built in. Next is that fact that every car in the museum has a running engine, is built as it was for its day and ready to be pushed into the car hauler to go racing. And speaking of car haulers, have you ever seen a museum that had a car hauler in it? One of the famous black Goodwrench car haulers is in there, pretty much in the same location it was back when the shop was active.
The shop/museum has more than 48,000 square feet and holds more than 50 racecars. Over half of those cars have Dale Earnhardt's name lettered over the driver's door. One of the biggest attractions is the Daytona 500-winning number 3. It was Dale and Richard's biggest victory and, like every car on display, there is a plaque that gives all the information, right down to the chassis number. The Daytona winning car was chassis number 34 and that race was the first time it had been in competition. After taking the checkered flag at Daytona, the car was put into Daytona USA, the NASCAR attraction located on speedway grounds, for the next year. When it was finally returned to Richard Childress Racing it was immediately put into their museum never to race again.
Another car famous to the RCR Museum is the red and white number 29 that won Atlanta with Kevin Harvick racing in only his third Winston Cup race shortly after the death of Earnhardt. It earned Harvick a spot in the record books as the first official rookie to win in less than 10 races and helped RCR and all its fans in the tremendous healing process. The car went on to race well the rest of the season. What most people don't know is that the car was driven by Earnhardt at Atlanta prior to that race.
RC is an avid hunter and sportsman and a separate section of his museum is dedicated to wildlife conservation with a portion of the museum's admissions going to four worthy conservation causes. This year is the 35tth anniversary of Richard Childress Racing and there are other active shops to view on the grounds. The Museum is normally open 9 to 5 on weekdays, 9 to 3 on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. During Lowes Motor Speedway Speedweeks, it is open longer hours. Group rates are available and while there, fans can often watch pit practice of the RCR teams. It's a must-see for any Dale Earnhardt fan!