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NASCAR Museum Shut Following Lawsuits

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An independently owned NASCAR museum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, has closed following lawsuits from ITG Brands after it bought the Winston name in 2015, according to The Drive.

In 2019, ITG launched a series of lawsuits against Will and Christy Spencer, who owned the Winston Cup Museum. ITG’s lawsuits, according to a court filing from the Spencers, stated that the company felt the “purchase of Winston Cigarettes from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in 2015 somehow gave it ownership of Winston Cup history” and that ITG felt the museum was “infringing on their ability to market their cigarettes to racing fans.” Because ITG owns the Winston brand, the company argued that it owned the Winston-branded artifacts the museum possessed.

The claims were dismissed twice.

In July, the museum temporarily closed with a plan to rebrand as the Ralph Seagraves Memorial Museum upon reopening. However, the couple decided it was not financially viable.

“After the past couple of years, we just can’t afford to keep it open and we’ve got to reinvent ourselves,” Christy Spencer said. “We’ve spent the past couple of years dealing with this litigation and so now the time has come to move forward. It’s just not feasible for us to continue to operate the museum.

“The museum has never been a money generator. It was never designed to be a revenue generator; [it] was really a way to fuel Will’s passion for the motorsports industry and give hardcore race fans a place to come and see some unique pieces of history.”

A large part of the collection will go to Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida, in early January.