Visiting Randleman? We suspect you are really interested in Level Cross, which is included in the Randleman mailing area. Randleman, Level Cross, and the Petty family are deeply intertwined.
Enjoy your visit.
Richard Petty Museum, 309 Branson Mill Rd, Randleman, NC 27317. Phone: 336-495-1143.
(Please note - The museum has MOVED from Randleman to Level Cross. This article was written from the perspective of a visit to the Randleman location.)
Randleman - Every NASCAR® fan, especially the older ones, ultimately will make the pilgrimage to Randleman to spend a little time in the realm of 'King' Richard Petty. The North Carolina hills are great for riding, especially in autumn. The highlight of the visit will be a leisurely stop at the Richard Petty Museum. It's devoted to all things "Petty", be it Lee, Richard, Kyle, Adam, or Linda and the rest of the kids and grandkids.
Several cars representative of all Petty drivers are on display, and specific cars appear to rotate from the shop to the museum. It's interesting to see how the cars moved from pure stocks, as in the Lee Petty championship car and the Plymouth 'Superbird' to the tube chassis racers of the current era.
This car greets visitors at the very front of the museum. A great presentation of a car with superior technology for 1970. Scored 18 wins, 27 top five, and 31 top ten in 47 races. The interior is a prime example of how far these cars have come in just 35 years. The steering wheel is the same as what would have been found on Joe Average's car, except for a massive amount of electrical tape wrapped around it to cushion it for a 500 mile race. The Hurst shift lever is right from the performance catalog. There are just six basic gauges on the panel; the largest is the tach and redline is just 7,000 RPM! Today the upper limit runs about 9,500 RPM. The only adornment on the panel is the standard plastic 'Plymouth' lettering that was also found on every Joe Average car of the era. Safety seats with special pads, special gas tanks; everything we know today that protects the drivers just isn't on these cars. Even the chromed bumpers are stock.
Lest you think this museum is just about cars, ponder this; Linda Petty has an extensive doll collection on display, and Richard has been given a lot of rifles and other firearms through the years. These, along with silver plates, clocks, and crystal of all types that have been given as trophies are all here and showed in brightly lit display cases.
Several other items also show how sophisticated racing has become in fashion. I especially got a kick out of seeing a special embroidered jacket from the 1967 Grand National championship season. Believe me, for anybody that remembers high school varsity jackets of the 1950's, the new stuff represents real flash! Yeah, and that's a word nobody uses to describe racing gear any more!
So, if you have a kid that loves racing and you want to share what it was 'In The Day', forget the crap Junior puts on the TV and wander over to the King's attic and find out what it really was. And don't forget to remember the days when you listened to the races on the AM radio because that was the only place to get it. Wander around Randleman a bit, except that it has grown, the town hasn't changed much since Richard was a teenager here.
Adult admission is $10 and senior and military discounts are offered. Click here to visit their WEBSITE.
Enjoy your stop!
Author's Note. This is a personal PS to show that eventually ALL old true Richard Petty fans will come to Randleman. I was nearly at the end of my visit when I noticed a wall covered with plaques of appreciation... seems EVERYBODY in a government position that could officially recognize The King did so. I proudly noticed one plaque from Admiral Chester Bender, US Coast Guard. He was my Commandant from 1970 through 1974.
After I took a photo of the plaque just for grins I moved a few feet away to let another visitor and his wife have their turn at the presentation wall. I was surprised when the gentleman turned to his spouse and said, "Look, Dear, even Chester Bender gave him a plaque." OOHHH...?? My curiosity was piqued.
I stepped over to the fella and asked if he was an old Coastie, like me. He responded with his name and my jaw dropped... I KNEW who this guy was! We had both been Coast Guard radiomen and at TWO units I had followed in his footsteps, and only a few weeks apart. Small world. We started chatting about all things Coast Guard.
After a minute or two I noticed an another older fellow sheepishly peering around a corner at the two of us as we were swapping our stories. He walked up and asked, "Did I hear you guys say you were Coast Guard radiomen?" Moments later we were all marveling over the fact that were all contemporaries, and each of us had at least two or three units in common, and not that far apart on any of them.
I walked away from this museum with a huge smile. Not only had the visit to the Petty Museum been enjoyable, I had been able to spend 30 minutes with a couple of men with whom I had served while in the Coast Guard 40 years previously. Just how good can a day get?