The Dale Trail™
Travel The Dale Trail™ in Kannapolis, Dale Earnhardt's hometown, and visit landmarks relating to his life and legendary NASCAR career. Share the Kannapolis community's pride in its hometown hero on the first motorsports heritage trail in the country.
The tour begins along Dale Earnhardt Blvd., a street named in Dale's honor in 1992. At Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Visitor Center, every person receives a collectible brochure and map containing information about the stops on The Dale Trail.
On the trail you'll visit the Car Town neighborhood where Dale grew up and see the streets where Car Town kids raced their bicycles. Dale always won, his mom says. The trail passes by Old Earnhardt Road, where teenage Dale careened around 90-degree curves in his yellow ’56 Chevrolet, and takes you to Idiot Circle where a young Dale perfected the left turn cruising with his teenage friends.
Hear about how Dale gained his love for racing watching his dad build racecars in the garage. Ralph Earnhardt, another racing legend, was known as “Mr. Dirt Track" because he was a racing legend in his time, amassing over 350 victories on the NASCAR Modified, Sportsman and Grand National Circuits. Those were simpler times in racing.
Along The Dale Trail you'll visit Ralph Earnhardt's gravesite in Centergrove Lutheran Cemetery. It's easy to find because it's the only one with a racecar engraved on it. Further along, you'll pass near the site of old Eddleman's Garage where Ralph perfected his engine wizardry by working on cars belonging to moonshiners like Junior Johnson. You’ll also see a stretch of Highway 29 known as the "Flying Mile" where Ralph and other mechanics at Eddleman's tested these fire-breathing, 'shine-running beasts.
A major stop on The Dale Trail is Dale Earnhardt Plaza in downtown Kannapolis. The centerpiece attraction is a 9-foot, 900-pound statue of Dale as his friends and neighbors knew him — dressed in Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots. Standing near the status is a granite monument, another tribute to "The Intimidator," contributed by Dale's fans. Read inscriptions by other Dale Earnhardt fans on the bricks and benches.
Curb Motorsports Museum provides a rare glimpse of NASCAR history. In the front showroom is the car Dale drove in 1980 during his first Winston Cup Championship. Parked next to it is Richard Petty's #43 Car, driven by Petty in 1984 when he achieved his 199th Winston Cup win. (The car Petty drove in his 200th Winston Cup win is in the Smithsonian Museum.)
On the trail, you'll stop for lunch at Punchy's Diner, where you can order Dale's Favorite Sandwich, a tomato sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip. Punchy's serves the tomato sandwich with a glass of Sundrop (Dale's favorite soft drink) and french fries, priced at $3.33 for Dale's #3 car.
The Dale Trail continues on North Carolina State Highway #3 heading through the countryside north of Kannapolis to Dale Earnhardt Inc., better known by some as "The Garage Majal." This glittery granite and glass complex is less than 20 miles from Ralph's humble garage in the back of the family's Kannapolis home where Dale first worked on his cars. Home to Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s stable of drivers, fans can tour the showroom with its ever-changing Dale Earnhardt exhibits and browse for memorabilia in the gift shop.
Those wanting a full-day experience on The Dale Trail can visit the Kannapolis Intimidators stadium where the legacy of "The Intimidator" lives on. Dale became part of the ownership group of this professional baseball team before he died but never got to see his team play.
Within a few minute's drive to the south of Kannapolis is Charlotte Motor Speedway, the superspeedway Dale called home, and Sam Bass Gallery of Motorsports Art with its exhibits of original and fine art prints relating to Dale Earnhardt and other NASCAR drivers.
Less than an hour's drive north is Richard Childress Racing, home shop for Dale's team and his #3 car. Fans can see into the shop from a fan walk and browse among exhibits relating to Dale's NASCAR victories.
Thanks for visiting. Come back to Cabarrus County and see us again soon.