Stock car racing fans can see cars driven to victory by the likes of Ricky Rudd, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Sr. at the Richard Childress Racing Museum in Welcome.
Welcome is about 110 miles from Raleigh, about a 1-hour 48-minute drive.
To see and do
At its grand opening in May 2003, the Richard Childress Racing Museum was described by Gov. Mike Easely as “a North Carolina destination of distinction, a place of historic significance.” It’s hard to take issue with that. The 47,000-square-foot facility encompasses what had been the original No. 3 race shop built in 1986 and used by the team from 1987 to 1999. The pairing of owner Richard Childress and driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1984 resulted in what proved to be NASCAR’s most dominant team from the mid-1980s well into the 1990s. Earnhardt won the championship in NASCAR’s top series six times between 1986 and 1994, with runner-up finishes in 1988 and 1989.
The museum includes the garage, transporter bay, research and development shop, Hall of Champions and Trophy Room and displays nearly four dozen race cars. Among them are the Daytona 500 winners driven by Earnhardt in 1998 and Kevin Harvick in 2007; the Piedmont Airlines-sponsored Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Ricky Rudd to claim Richard Childress Racing’s first Winston Cup win at Riverside International Speedway on June 5, 1983; and the Wrangler-sponsored Monte Carlo driven by Earnhardt during his first two championship seasons with Childress, in 1986 and 1987.
Also displayed is the first car driven by Childress at the famous track at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem – a modified 1937 Plymouth coupe. Although the museum’s main focus is on auto racing, the building also houses the Richard Childress Wildlife and Conservation Gallery, filled with dozens of Childress’ hunting trophies displayed in dramatic settings. The gallery is included with admission to the museum.