NASCAR, or the national association for stock car auto racing, is one of the biggest racing operating companies in the world. It is responsible for organizing and sanctioning events all around the world, but we all know why it's famous; the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup.
This race is one of the biggest in America and is also one of the fastest. Just sitting there in the stands as cars literally zip right past you like silhouettes is just exhilarating. The sheer speed and ferocity of the cars are unlike anything most people ever get to see. So today, let's take a trip down memory lane and see how NASCAR came to be one of the biggest racing associations in the world.
Early Stock Racing (the 1920s)
It all started in the 1920s with the rise in race culture among the youth at the time. As vehicles were getting faster, drivers were getting a lot more experimental with their vehicles. And as Daytona Beach became the prime location for setting speeding records, it turned into Mecca for racers around the world in many ways. In other words, between 1925 and 1935 alone, eight different world records for speed were set. And between 1900 and 1935, a total of 15 world records were set, on what has now become the Daytona Beach road course.
But while the Daytona Beach was becoming the prime location for stock racers everywhere, stock racing in the United States has a much more interesting back story. Real stock racing and body modification for cars happened during the prohibition era, between 1920 and 1933.
The Prohibition Era and the Rise of Stock Cars (1920-1933)
The prohibition era was a strange time for the United States, as there was a nationwide ban on the consumption, production, and supply of alcohol. But this didn’t stop the gang members at the time from making bootlegged alcohol and selling it. And since this was against the law, these drivers had to run fast to avoid the police. They had to run faster than the cars at the time.
Drivers got to modifying smaller, faster vehicles to avoid the police. They would often optimize their cars for better handling and speed. Some would even take it a step further and make for more cargo space to keep the more illicit products. And some of these drivers loved their high-speed pursuits and would go on to participate in competitions. Of course, the prohibition era came to an end, and with that, their business.
But while the bootlegging business greatly died down after 1933, that doesn't mean the cars didn't. The cars slowly improved, and by the 1940s, modified cars became a symbol of pride for most drivers and showed their experience in the sport.
Laying the foundation (1947)
Bill France Sr., a man fond of the sport, saw the massive potential that it had. He lived through the prohibition period and saw how cars were getting faster, and how the appeal for racing was becoming more than just an underground sport. So he announced the NCSCC, the National Championship Stock Car Circuit.
So when Bill France went onto the American Automobile Association for funding, they refused. But that didn’t slow him down. In fact, Bill France went right ahead with his plans and announced the competition along with its rules, regulation, and prizes. The season was to start in the January 1947 at the Daytona Beach track and end at Jacksonville in December.
With Lofty promises for $1000 and a trophy, the pieces were all in place for this to be the worst possible event in the history of racing. And then, the race happened.
The First NCSCC
It turns out that not even Bill France was expecting the event to go so well. Venues were often jam-packed, with some people willing to come often exceeding the venue's capacity. And with 40 races planned throughout the year, the event was a smash hit. Bill France and the organizing team was able to rake in a hefty profit, and all of the drivers in individual contests were paid prize money.
And they also announced the winner, a driver by the name of Fonty Flock. He received $1000 and a 4ft tall trophy. Calling this event a hit would honestly be selling it too short.
The Meeting at Daytona Beach and the Birth of NASCAR
At the end of the season, Bill France held a meeting with 35 other remembers of the NCSCC, which the first of four seminars. These seminars detailed the vision that Bill France has to bring together a group of remarkable people and see if they could be something greater.
The first name that the group came up with for the association was National Stock Car Racing Association. But since that was already taken, they settled for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. And with that, NASCAR was born and founded by William France Sr. later in 1948 alongside other drivers.
The Three Divisions
NASCAR launched three divisions: strictly stock, roadster, and modified. The roadster was the first division to go, seeing how it was not necessarily the most popular among fans. The real meat and bones of NASCAR was their modified division, which has now become the famous NASCAR Wheelen Modified tour.
Throughout the years, the race mostly stayed the same. However, sponsors started pouring in during and after the 1950s. At this point, NASCAR found its strong footing and became a big name over the years.
NASCAR has turned into quite the household name, especially with its amazing series of races since the 2000s. Their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is one of the most famous in the world, and they sanction over 1500 races throughout the United States alone.
In conclusion, it is interesting to see how one of the biggest and most prestigious racing associations in the world start from where it did.