WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Financial issues are forcing a Winston-Salem-based museum to close its doors after 19 years.
The founder of the Winston Cup Museum took to social media on Tuesday morning to announce that the museum would be closing on Dec. 16.
“This is not a decision we have come to lightly, but it is the necessary end of 19 wonderful years preserving racing history,” they wrote on Instagram. However, they say that the closure of the brick-and-mortar museum does not mean that they will stop working to preserve NASCAR history.
They encourage anyone who wants to visit the museum to come in the next few weeks. They’ll also be holding an auction in Kissimmee Florida from Jan. 2-14th, 2024. You’ll be able to bid on what they believe is “the largest personal collection of racing memorabilia ever sold at auction.”
This closure comes after a protracted series of legal battles with Imperial Brands subsidy ITG Brands.
R.J. Reynolds debuted the Winston brand of cigarettes in 1954, and, in 1971, NASCAR launched the Winston Cup Series when the Winston brand became the title sponsor of NASCAR’s elite division, according to the history on the museum’s website. That sponsorship — and the Winston Cup Series — ended in 2003.
Imperial Brands bought the Winston brand of cigarette from R.J. Reynolds in 2015, along with Salem and Kool.
In mid-September, the museum agreed to rename and rebrand, allowing them to keep the “majority” of their assets. They put out options for a new name on social media for fans to weigh in on, and in their social media statement said that they would have become the “Ralph Seagraves Memorial Museum” had they moved forward.
“History is hard to preserve and even harder to save. I am grateful I did my part for 19 years,” Will Spencer, Winston Cup Museum Founder, wrote.