CONCORD N.C. – Nestled within the halls of Hendrick Motorsports sits a room dedicated to the history of the organization. Dating back to 1984 and the foundation of All-Star Racing - the first name of what became Hendrick Motorsports - the archives room holds numerous treasures. Included among the items are different elements from the making of the 1990 film "Days of Thunder."
The movie starred Tom Cruise as Cole Trickle, a young race car driver looking to make his mark in NASCAR. His first starts come in the No. 46 entry sponsored by City Chevrolet, a nod to Rick Hendrick’s car dealership in real life. During production of the film, Hendrick Motorsports was responsible for building and repairing the race cars used on track.
The seeds for the movie were planted following a chance meeting at a track between legendary actor Paul Newman, who was a car enthusiast and raced from time to time, Cruise and Hendrick. A friendship was struck up with Cruise even testing a NASCAR Xfinity Series car at Daytona International Speedway. From there, the idea was born and filming took place in early 1990 in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, and Daytona Beach, Florida.
Upon its release on June 27, 1990, the movie was a success at the box office, grossing over $157 million worldwide. Years later, Cruise was a surprise guest to introduce Jeff Gordon during the 2015 NASCAR Awards, which came after the NASCAR Hall of Famer's final full-time season.
The archives feature several notable pieces of memorabilia. Also found in the archives are autographed movie posters, hats, and photos of the film's vehicles on the Hendrick Motorsports campus.
Currently on display to the public in the Hendrick Motorsports Museum is Trickle's No. 46 City Chevrolet race car from the film. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET and offers a special look at the history of the 14-time NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning organization. Make sure to check out this piece of movie and racing history.