The Dale Trail

A Self-Guided Tour of NASCAR Legend, Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s Hometown

The Dale Trail was created in the community of Kannapolis, North Carolina to commemorate hometown hero Dale Earnhardt Sr. A bucket list experience for race fans, The Dale Trail features more than 15 locations that tell the story of Earnhardt’s life, his legendary NASCAR career and his old stomping grounds. To get your motor running, here’s a look at three stops along The Dale Trail.

Stop by the Cabarrus County Visitor Center to pick up the free map and start your adventure.

Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza

Located on the corner of Main Street and West B Street is a park dedicated in Dale Earnhardt’s memory. The centerpiece of the plaza is a nine-foot, 900-pound bronze statue of Dale as his hometown knew him—dressed in Wrangler jeans, cowboy boots and a creased, short-sleeve, button-down shirt with sunglasses in the pocket. Sporting his famous grin, his gaze is directed toward Idiot Circle, Dale’s favorite hangout during his teen years. Take note of the subtle, symbolic elements—benches in groups of three, an oval layout and more. The best time to take a photograph with the statue? In the afternoon when there are no shadows on his face.

Punchy’s Diner

This retro, 1950s-themed diner serves Dale Earnhardt’s favorite sandwich, a tomato sandwich made with lettuce and Miracle Whip on white bread. This simple dish is just one of the many examples of how Dale never forgot where he came from. To Dale, the sandwich was a reminder of his beginnings in racing when money was scarce. Punchy’s is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. Fuel up and head to the next stop!

Hendrick Motorsports

Home to several race teams, Cabarrus County is known as “Where Racing Lives.” One of the most prominent is just one mile from Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. Hendrick Motorsports features state-of-the-art technology that supports four full-time teams in the sport’s top division, the NASCAR Cup Series. At the Museum & Team Store, visitors will find race cars, memorabilia, and trophies from drivers including retired fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Here, fans can also purchase exclusive items such as tires and lug nuts used in competition. Inside the 9/24 and 48/88 race shops, viewing areas give a behind-the-scenes look at race day preparations.

There are over 15 additional stops along The Dale Trail that tell the story of Earnhardt’s history. Begin your journey by picking up the free, collectible map that details each location.

The Dale Trail map is available at the Cabarrus County Visitor Center and in all Cabarrus County hotels.

At the Visitor Center, you’ll also find plenty of souvenirs to commemorate your trip, from t-shirts and coffee mugs to notepads and post cards. Don’t forget to share all the highlights of your visit on social media using #DaleTrail.

Ready to explore The Dale Trail? Start planning your trip today. These Places to Stay in Cabarrus County are all within minutes of every stop along the The Dale Trail.