The RCR Museum, like the rest of the organization, prides itself on excellence. The RCR graphics department on the campus not only creates and applies the vinyl wraps for all RCR racecars, it also creates the stellar graphics for the museum’s tableaus.
The All-Star Room features eight fully restored Mr. Goodwrench cars driven by Dale Earnhardt. Cars include RCR Chassis No. 19, which Earnhardt drove to victory in the 1995 Brickyard 400 at Indy, and Chassis No. 58, which Earnhardt drove from 18th with five laps to go to victory in the 2000 Winston 500 at Talladega.
Perhaps the most significant car of the Earnhardt era: Chassis No. 34, with which Earnhardt finally won his lone Daytona 500 after 20 years of frustration. Along the way, he led 107 of the 200 laps and had the fastest lap of the race.
Chassis No. 15 was the first time Earnhardt’s 3 car did not appear in its signature black livery. Dubbed “Quicksilver,” it was the first to feature a unique paint scheme honoring the 25th anniversary of R.J. Reynolds’ sponsorship of the Winston Cup.
RCR is the only NASCAR team supported by General Mills, and its cars have featured brands such as Cheerios, Hamburger Helper, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker and, of course, Wheaties. Dale Earnhardt is the only NASCAR driver to ever grace the iconic Wheaties box.
RCR Chassis No. 87 carries with it more emotion than most of the other cars in the museum. Built in 2001, it was driven to victory in the 2007 Daytona 500 by Kevin Harvick. The car spent a year on display at Daytona USA and was then returned, still bearing the confetti and scars from that race—as well a nod to Dale’s number 3.
Dale’s No. 3 Wrangler Monte Carlos won 16 races, earned 47 top-10 finishes and earned Childress and Earnhardt Winston Cup championships in 1986 and 1987. Childress commissioned the bas-relief after the photo from the 1984 Atlanta Winner’s Circle—Childress’ favorite.
In 1995, Chassis No. 18 earned a pole at Richmond and won three weeks later at Martinsville. It is the first car to wear Bass Pro Shops livery, and signifies the long, successful relationship between Childress and his good friend and hunting partner, Bass Pro Shops’ Johnny Morris.
The enduring affection of Earnhardt’s fans is on display on the walls of the RCR Museum, where tens of thousands of visitors have left their signatures. So many have done so that the museum has been forced to suspend the practice, having run out of room.
Number 3’s winning traditions are being carried forward by Childress’ grandsons, Austin and Ty Dillon. Austin won the 2011 Camping World Truck Series Championship in this truck. Note the severe angle of the front tire, due to the physics of left-turn-only racing.
Richard Childress’ now-vintage driving suit has only been worn by one other person—country and western star Tanya Tucker, who wore it to sing the National Anthem at Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 2015.
Immaculate attention to detail is as evident at the RCR Museum as it is in their Sprint Car Cup building. Race fans will be rewarded for their scrutiny with fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits and race trivia.
NRA Wishes RCR Good Luck At Daytona! Open weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Richard Childress Racing Museum is located on Industrial Drive in Welcome, N.C., approximately 10 minutes south of Winston-Salem at Interstate 40 and about one hour north of Charlotte. One dollar of every admission fee goes to support the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the North Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited.
This Sunday, the 2016 season of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series will kick off with the 58th running of the Daytona 500—and a special connection for NRA members.
Fans are very familiar with one of the series’ most-storied teams: Richard Childress Racing (RCR), who, together with the legendary Dale Earnhardt, has won 6 championships in NASCAR’s premier series. However, even the most knowledgeable fans may not know that, in addition to his myriad other accomplishments, team owner Richard Childress added another title in 2015: He was selected as the Second Vice President of the National Rifle Association.
Childress has had a long-standing commitment to NRA, serving two terms on its Board of Directors and chairing the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee since 2010. In addition, in 2015 Childress offered the 500-plus RCR employees a unique Christmas bonus: If they wished to join or upgrade their NRA membership, Childress would write the check. Half of them took him up on his generous offer.
The story of the unique and enormously successful relationship between Childress and Earnhardt is on exquisite display at the 47,000-square-foot RCR Museum that fronts the 13-building RCR campus in Welcome, N.C. A1F Daily was honored to receive a guided tour of the outstanding collection as the team made its final preparations before loading the transports for the trip to Daytona.