The Richard Childress Racing Museum located in Welcome, North Carolina may contain the largest collection of Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 Chevrolets, but it is home to a wide variety of items and artifacts from the organization’s nearly 50-year history.
Each week during the 2018 season, we will celebrate Throwback Thursday by featuring an item in the newly redesigned Richard Childress Racing Museum by showcasing its story and unique history to the famed organization.
Walking through the newly redesigned museum, past the old RCR shop of the 1980s and 1990s, through the wildlife conservation area, the first car fans walk upon is a No. 21 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet from the 2000 NASCAR XFINITY Series, driven by Mike Dillon.
Dillon – son-in-law of Richard Childress, father to Austin and Ty Dillon, and Senior Vice President of Business Development at RCR – helped the organization get its XFINITY Series program up and running during the 2000 season with that No. 21 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet. As the driver, Dillon two top-10 finishes and led 11 laps on the year.
“Richard started racing in the XFINITY Series for me,” said Dillon. “We went out and won a lot of races running late models, and he decided to go XFINITY racing – it was the Busch Series back then. We hired (Kevin) Harvick and myself. We started it. To be able to get that program going here at RCR is pretty cool. To go from that and see all of the races and championships we’ve won, it’s pretty incredible.”
The No. 21 Chevrolet went on to have a storied history in the XFINITY Series at RCR, scoring 24 wins at 18 different tracks with three different drivers. It has also earned 115 top fives, 175 top 10s, 19 poles and the 2006 championship. That season, Harvick, Jeff Burton and crew chief Shane Wilson earned nine wins, 15 top-two and 21 top-five finishes in the No. 21.
In 2017, the No. 21 returned to competition in the XFINITY Series with Daniel Hemric behind the wheel. The number’s success continued during Hemric’s rookie campaign as he piloted it to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Although Dillon shows his No. 21 Chevrolet off whenever he walks groups around the museum, he admits he is much prouder of Austin and Ty’s items that are included in the museum.
“Just being a very small part of all of the history here at RCR means a lot,” he said. “It is pretty special when you walk by it in the museum and get to see your name on the car.
“I asked Richard not long ago if he wanted to keep the car in there or if he wanted to make room for other cars from our history. He said, ‘No! That’s part of the history of this place. I want you to be in our museum.’ That actually made me feel really good that he said that and it’s pretty cool.”
The Richard Childress Racing Museum & Team Store is open to the public starting January 16, 2018, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. ET from Tuesday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, please visit www.rcrracing.com/rcr-museum.