Richard Petty Museum moves back to Petty family compound in Level Cross, N.C.

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Richard Petty is going back home to Level Cross, N.C. – the Richard Petty Museum, that is.

Ribbon cutting ceremonies and an open house will take place Wednesday evening at the Petty compound in Level Cross.

The relocated museum holds much of what NASCAR’s winningest driver has ever won or achieved in his legendary career. It will now be housed in the site of the original Petty Enterprises and Petty Engineering facilities, the same facility where The King developed many of the cars that led him to a record seven Grand National and Winston Cup championships and 200 career wins.

The Petty museum has been housed in nearby Randleman, N.C. since 2003. But a few years ago, it was decided to bring it back within the Petty family compound in Level Cross, where it began in 1988 by Richard’s wife Lynda.

“It’s time to move the museum back,” Petty told Autoweek last November. “We’re really grateful for everyone in Randleman for allowing us to move the museum there when our race shop had to grow. We now have the opportunity to move it back to where it all started, and I think everyone agrees that’s where it belongs.

“We want people to come and see the history on the same ground where it all happened. We’re going to take the time to make it even better, too. It’s exciting for our family, and we hope everyone will enjoy it with us.”

The team’s performance headquarters, Richard Petty Motorsports, will remain in Concord, N.C.

Likewise, Victory Junction Gang Camp, started by Petty’s son Kyle and wife Pattie to honor late son Adam, who was killed in a racing accident in 2000, will remain based in Randleman.

Even before it re-opens its doors, the museum already has expansion plans in place to also honor team patriarch Lee Petty, including allowing fans to visit the Lee Petty House, where both Richard and brother Maurice were born. All three Pettys and cousin Dale Inman, Richard’s long-time crew chief, are now enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, with Maurice being inducted in January.

Petty’s daughter, Rebecca Moffitt, who also runs the Petty Family Foundation, has overseen the transition of the museum from Randleman to back home on the Petty range.

“This is a project our family has been working on for over the last year,” she told Autoweek. “This will give fans the most genuine look at the Petty racing history. We’re going to work hard … to ensure that when we open the original location, it’ll be a destination for all race fans.”

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Australia SuperCar Champion gets IndyCar Test at Team Penske

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Scott McLaughlin’s latest reward for winning the 2019 Virgin Australia SuperCar championship is an INDYCAR test at Team Penske.

“Scott has been incredibly successful for DJR Team Penske over the last three seasons and he has become a true champion of our sport,” said team owner Roger Penske, who will become the owner of INDYCAR, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 in early January. “He certainly embraces new challenges and we think this is a great opportunity to utilize the IndyCar Series rookie testing program so Scott can experience what it is like to get behind the wheel of one of our Indy cars.”

McLaughlin, who has scored back-to-back Virgin Australia Supercars Champion for DJR Team Penske (DJRTP), will participate in an INDYCAR Rookie Evaluation test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. on Monday, January 13.

“I am always open to new challenges and I’m thankful to Team Penske for providing this opportunity to test an Indy car,” said McLaughlin, who established a new Supercars single season record with 18 victories this past season. “We had an amazing year in 2019 and I’m looking forward to defending our Supercars championship next season. I’m also excited to grow as a driver and being with Team Penske creates cool opportunities to try something new. Although I have spent a few hours in a simulator earlier this year, it’s going to be a blast to see what one really feels like at a place like Sebring.”

McLaughlin joined DJR Team Penske in 2017 as one of the brightest stars in Supercars. He has produced 35 victories and 44 pole positions over the last three seasons while helping DJRTP claim team championships in 2017 and 2019, the driver’s title each of the last two seasons and the legendary Bathurst 1000 race in October, along with co-driver Alex Premat.

McLaughlin will defend his Supercars title for DJRTP in 2020 in the No. 17 Shell V-Power Ford Mustang.  He will build on his already successful racing career by driving a full-sized open-wheel car for the first time.

Team Penske enjoyed another successful IndyCar Series season in 2019. The team earned its record 18th Indianapolis 500 victory as Simon Pagenaud captured the checkered flag in May, while Josef Newgarden won his second series title in three years and the team’s 16th INDYCAR Championship. Team Penske will once again compete with three full-season entries in 2020, featuring series champion drivers Newgarden, Pagenaud and Will Power.

Team Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Cars owned and prepared by Team Penske have produced more than 540 major race wins, over 620 pole positions and 37 Championships across open-wheel, stock car and sports car racing competition. Over the course of its 53-year history, the team has also earned 18 Indianapolis 500 victories, two Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win, overall victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring along with a win in Australia’s legendary Bathurst 1000 race. Team Penske currently competes in the IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team also races in the Virgin Australia SuperCars Championship, in a partnership with Dick Johnson Racing, as DJR Team Penske.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500