This is the third entry from our trip to the Carolinas in June of 2018. This one gets a bit interesting as we leave the Charlotte area, go north through the state into Southern Virginia, spend the night in Bristol, TN, and then unexpectedly wind up back in the Charlotte area before driving all the way back to Nashville.
Richard Childress Racing – 236 Industrial Dr, Lexington, NC 27295
First up is a stop at the RCR Museum in Lexington, NC. This museum contains most of the significant cars from the career of Dale Earnhardt, as well as several vehicles from other RCR drivers through the years. The museum is located in the former main shop for RCR, before the team moved into more modern facilities elsewhere on the campus. Highlights include all of the special paint schemes Dale Sr. used in the all star races, his car from the 2001 Bud Shootout, which was the last car he finished a race in, his Talladega winner from 2000, and of course, the 1998 Daytona 500 winner, pictured below. The shop also contains the hauler used for Dale’s last race in the actual hauler bay. Also at the museum is an exhibit of wildlife that RC has hunted, as well as a Sirius Radio broadcast booth used by Danny ‘Chocolate’ Myers, also curator of the RCR Museum. This stop is a must for any true NASCAR fan!
Petty’s Garage / Petty Museum – 311 Branson Mill Rd, Randleman, NC 27317
From there we headed over to the original location of Petty Enterprises. This is the original homestead and race shops of Lee Petty, which grew over the years until the team relocated to the Charlotte area just a few years ago. The location now houses the Petty Museum, as well as Petty’s Garage, where many of the former team employees now work on street performance vehicles. While we were in the museum, we stopped over at the garage to see if what parts they had in stock, and decided to have a Petty Blue custom strut tower brace installed. These are fabricated and painted on site, and are a great suspension addition to the Challenger. While they were working on the car, we finished our museum tour. It was literally like a walk back in time, when you think of all the things that have happened at that shop, and all the wins and championships they have achieved through the years.
Andy Griffith Museum – 218 Rockford St, Mt Airy, NC 27030
From there we trekked north to Mt. Airy, NC, which was the basis for Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show. The town is neat to walk through, and there are some businesses based on locations from the show, such as the Snappy Diner and Floyd’s Barber Shop. There is a very nice museum, that contains several set pieces from the show, including the desk that Andy used.
Wood Brothers Racing Museum – 21 Performance Drive, Stuart, VA 24171
Next up was the Wood Brother Museum in Stuart, VA. Much like the Petty Museum, this is housed in the old Wood Brothers shop that they used until a recent move to Charlotte. This was truly a day to walk through NASCAR history, as the museum contains many artifacts and vehicles from the team’s long history, including several items from my two favorite drivers, AJ Foyt, and Bill Elliott, who both drove for this team. As we walked through the shop, we encountered Leonard Wood, who was in the back of the shop welding motor mounts on a project car he’s building. He came out and talked for a few minutes, and signed a picture for Adam and I.
Martinsville Speedway – 340 Speedway Rd, Ridgeway, VA 24148
Next up we hoped over to Martinsville Speedway. Adam went into the track office to ask if they had anything for sale, and a very nice woman gave him some patches and stickers. We drove down to the track and the wall was open, so we walked out onto the track, and contemplated pulling the Challenger in for a lap. We decided a night in the Martinsville jail really didn’t fit into our plans, so we drove off.
Bristol Motor Speedway – 151 Speedway Blvd, Bristol, TN 37620
We pulled into Bristol late in the day, and decided to spend the night on the Tennessee side of the state line. We headed over to the track and got a couple of nice photo opportunities, as well as stopped into the gift shop for some items.
Steve White Motors – 3470 US Hwy 70 SE, Newton, NC 28658
Here’s where things get a bit strange. After several days on the road, and driving all across South Carolina, North Carolina, and into Virginia, all we needed to do was spend Friday driving back across Tennessee to the house. We got up early, had breakfast, and loaded up the car. While getting gas, I checked Facebook and noticed that Luke at Steve White Motors had posted about a sale on hood pins. After a few texts back and forth, we agreed to buy a set and have them installed at 1pm that afternoon. We changed direction and drove all the way back to NC. I’ve followed Luke on Facebook for a few years, he has his own Challenger that he has totally customized and enters into many racing events. I’ve even bought a couple of cars from Steve White Motors in the past on the internet and had them delivered, so it was nice to finally go there and meet Luke in person. We talked about his car and my car, and before I knew it I had agreed to also purchase a new Barton quick throw shifter and have it installed as well. We were there about three hours, and they also changed my oil and fixed an issue I was having with my brake rotors. Luke and his team did superb work, and we definitely plan to stop in on our next trip through!
Hickory Motor Speedway – 3130 US-70, Newton, NC 28658
After waiting on the car, Adam and I headed over to Hickory Motor Speedway, another historic NASCAR track, just to get a couple of pictures.
The Return Home
So, after all that, it was about 5pm on Friday afternoon. Adam and I were very tired, but were out of clean clothes. We drove to a hotel in Hickory and started to search for a place to do some laundry. When thinking of how much trouble that would be, we decided to just go for it and drive through the night to get home. After stops for dinner we made it back around midnight. The longest drive from Bristol to Nashville ever!!! Upon our return, we fixed up the road sign seen below. We bought the sign at an antique store on the trip, and bought a sticker from every stop we made. We affixed the stickers to the sign and it now proudly hangs on the garage wall. We’ve done this on a couple of other trips as well, and is a great reminder of the memories we made on this trip!