NASCAR, or the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, is one of the world's biggest racing operating companies and is responsible for organizing and sanctioning events all around the globe.
NASCAR is America's signature form of racing and is also one of the fastest. Just sitting in the stands as cars zip past you is exhilarating. 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
It all started in the 1920s with the rise of race culture among young people at the time. As vehicles were getting faster, drivers were getting a lot more experimental with their vehicles. Daytona Beach became the prime location for setting speed records and it turned into a Mecca for racers around the world. Between 1925 and 1935 alone, eight different world records for speed were set on the oval at Daytona Beach. And between 1900 and 1935, a total of 15 world records were set on what has now become the Daytona International Speedway. However, the war starting in 1939 put most forms of racing into hibernation until the late 1940s.
Laying the foundations
Bill France Sr., a fan of the sport, saw the massive potential that it had. During the prohibition period he saw how cars were modified to be faster and more agile for bootlegging runs and how the appeal for racing was becoming more than just an underground sport. And so, he created the NCSCC, the National Championship Stock Car Circuit.
When Bill France Sr. went to the American Automobile Association for funding, he was refused. But he didn't let that slow him down! Instead, he went right ahead with his plans and announced the competition along with its rules, regulations, and prizes. The season was to start in January 1947 at the Daytona Beach track and end at Jacksonville in December.
With lofty promises of $1,000 and a trophy, the groundwork had been laid 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 could have expected the event to go so well. Not only was France and the organizing team able to rake in a hefty profit, but all of the drivers in individual contests were paid prize money. Venues became jam-packed and often exceeded capacity throughout the racing season. Now with 40 races planned throughout the year, the NCSCC was a smash hit.
The Meeting at Daytona Beach and the Birth of NASCAR
At the end of the 1947 season, Bill France held a meeting with 35 other remembers of the NCSCC, which was the first of four seminars. These seminars detailed Bill France's vision to bring together a group of remarkable people and see if they could create something even 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.
Following its creation, NASCAR launched three divisions: strictly stock, roadster, and modified. As it was not very popular among fans, the roadster division was the first to go. The real meat and potatoes of NASCAR was their modified division, which went on to become the famous NASCAR Whelen Modified tour.
Throughout the years, the racing has mostly stayed the same. However, during the 1950s, sponsors started pouring in. NASCAR found a strong footing and grew into a national sensation!
NASCAR has turned into a household name since its inception, especially with its amazing series of races since the 2000s. Their NASCAR Cup Series is one of the most famous in the world and they sanction over 1,500 races annually throughout the United States alone.
It's a great American story to see how this powerhouse of racing came from humble beginnings to grow into one of the biggest and most prestigious racing associations in the world!