By Al Pearce, Crain News Service
LEVEL CROSS, N.C. (March 21, 2014) — One of the most revered collections of stock car racing rolling stock and memorabilia has returned to its original home in the North Carolina hamlet of Level Cross.
After 10 years in other locations, the Richard Petty Museum has relocated to its original home near the Petty family homestead, 25 miles from Greensboro.
The museum — which outlines the history of NASCAR’s most famous on-track family — was opened in 1988 in a spare building at Petty Enterprises. The original museum was near the A-frame building where three-time champion and family patriarch the late Lee Petty founded the company in 1949. When that building was needed as Petty Enterprises expanded to a multicar organization, the museum was moved in 2003 to nearby Randleman, N.C., the closest city of any size.
When Richard Petty Motorsports moved its racing operations from Level Cross to Concord, N.C., several years ago, plans went in motion to bring the museum back to its original site. The move took more than six months, and the museum was reopened on March 12 with a gala celebration featuring Richard Petty and his fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame relatives, his brother, Maurice Petty, and their cousin Dale Inman.
The museum displays memorabilia and personal collections of the seven-time NASCAR champion, a 200-time race winner. “It’s good to have it back home and open for everyone to come see,” Richard Petty said. “We’re showing a lot of history here on the grounds where my daddy built the race team. It’s something we hope the fans will come see, enjoy and tell their friends about.
“We tried to pack as much racing memorabilia as possible, but also have stuff from our movies and other different things. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy.”
The new-look museum features exhibits associated with the three Petty Hall of Famers (Lee, Richard and Maurice) and Mr. Inman, the first crew chief in the Hall of Fame. There are countless cars, trophies and awards, iconic photos, displays from the Pixar film “Cars,” and memorabilia representing the family’s contributions to NASCAR racing.
The State of North Carolina and Randolph County have designated the nearby Petty homestead and the site of the original Petty Enterprises buildings as historic landmarks.
This report appeared on autoweek.com, the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.