About NASCAR

NASCAR: NASCAR is an association that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events.

What does NASCAR stand for?

NASCAR stands for The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

What is NASCAR?

NASCAR is a family-owned and -operated business venture. Its main objective is to sanction and govern multiple auto racing sports events. It is the largest sanctioning body of stock car racing in the United States and was founded in 1947 by Bill France, Sr. Additionally, NASCAR has also presented races internationally.

In the United States, NASCAR is the second largest professional sports franchise in terms of television ratings. First is the National Football League (NFL). NASCAR races are also broadcasted in over 150 countries. According to some statistics, NASCAR has over 75 million fans that purchase licensed products worth $3 billion annually.

How and when was NASCAR formed?

In the United States, stock car racing originated from bootlegging during the Prohibition. Drivers used to modify their cars and use them to run bootleg whiskey. The generally used small, fast cars, so that they may be able to outrun the police. After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the bootleggers got work running moonshine to Southerners, while evading the "revenuers" who were attempting to tax their operations.

By the 1940s, these cars has gotten so fast and the drivers so experienced, that races featuring these cars were being run for pride and profit. These races were mostly held in and near the Wilkes County region of North Carolina. However, during the 1920s and 1930s, Daytona Beach had become known as the place to set world land speed records. Daytona Beach has supplanted France and Belgium as the preferred location. During 1927 and 1935, Daytona Beach saw eight consecutive world records being set.

William France, Sr. was a mechanic, who had moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, from Washington, D.C., in 1935, in order to escape the Great Depression. He knew the history of the land speed record attempts at Daytona Beach and the races being promoted there. He entered the 1936 Daytona event, finishing fifth. Eventually, he took over running the course in 1938 and promoted a few races before the onset of World War I.

William “Bill” France believed that people would enjoy watching "stock cars" race. After the two World Wars, he decided that racing needs to be a formally sanctioned sport, in order to grow. There had been too many instances where the promoters would leave will all the money, before the drivers would get paid.

Racing needed a formal sanctioning organization, standardized rules, regular schedule, and an organized championship. So, on December 14, 1947, he began talks with other influential racers and promoters at the Ebony Bar at the Streamline Hotel at Daytona Beach, Florida. The talks concluded with the formation of NASCAR on February 21, 1948.

Where is NASCAR headquartered?

The main NASCAR headquarters are in Daytona Beach, Florida. However, NASCAR also has regional offices at in New York City, New York; Los Angeles, California; Houston, Texas; and Bentonville, Arkansas. NASCAR also has offices in Charlotte, Mooresville, Concord, and Conover; all cities in North Carolina. NASCAR’s international offices are located in Mexico City, Mexico and Toronto, Canada.

What are some of the series that NASCAR sanctions?

NASCAR sanctions three main racing series: the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. In addition to these, NASCAR oversees NASCAR Local Racing, the Whelen Modified Tour, the Whelen All-American Series, and the NASCAR iRacing.com Series. In all, NASCAR sanctions over 1500 races at over 100 tracks in 39 US states and Canada. Internationally, NASCAR has presented exhibition races at the Suzuka and Motegi circuits in Japan, Mexico, and Calder Park Raceway in Australia.

List of sanctioned series:

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: the sport's highest level of professional competition. It is consequently the most popular and most profitable NASCAR series.
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series: the second-highest level of professional competition in NASCAR.
  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: features modified pickup trucks. It is one of the three national divisions of NASCAR, together with the Nationwide Series and the Sprint Cup.
  • Regional racing series:
    • Whelen All-American Series: A points championship for NASCAR sanctioned local racetracks around the United States and Canada. Local drivers compete to win the Whelen All-American Weekly Series National Championship. Is split into four divisions.
    • Whelen Modified Tour: NASCAR's oldest division, and its one of two open-wheeled divisions. Races open-wheel "modified" cars in Northern and Southern divisions.
    • K&N Pro Series: Consists of East and West divisions, race cars that are similar to Nationwide Series cars, although they are less powerful.
    • NASCAR Canadian Tire Series: a NASCAR racing series in Canada that derives from the old CASCAR Super Series (founded in 1981 and bought out by NASCAR in 2006).
    • NASCAR Corona Series (now NASCAR Toyota Series): replaced the existing Desafío Corona Series in Mexico from 2007.
    • NASCAR Whelen Euroseries: NASCAR announced that it would sanction the existing European-based Racecar Euro Series as a "NASCAR Touring Series". On July 1, 2013, with partnership from Whelen Engineering, the series was renamed the NASCAR Whelen Euroseries.

What are some criticisms that NASCAR has faced?

Some critics of NASCAR have noted the significant differences between today's NASCAR vehicles and true "stock" cars. Furthermore, NASCAR has faced allegations of dominance by the France family on NASCAR's business structure, policies, and decision making.

Furthermore, many environmentalists have also raised issues in regard to fuel consumption, emissions and pollution, and the use of lead additives in the gasoline. In response to these, NASCAR has attempted to switch to environmentally friendlier feul options, such as unleaded fuel and E15 "green" fuel, which is 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline.

Fun Facts about NASCAR:

  • Young William “Bill” France, future founder of NASCAR had entered into a race to be held at Daytona Beach, Florida, on March 8, 1936. The drivers brought coupes, hardtops, convertibles, and sports cars to compete in an event to determine the fastest cars, and best drivers. Throughout the race, the heavier cars got bogged down in the sand, while the lightweight Fords navigated the ruts of the course, eventually claiming the top 6 finishes for the race. Of the 27 cars that started the event, only 10 managed to survive the ordeal, as officials halted the event 10 miles short of the scheduled 250 mile distance. Driver Milt Marion was declared the winner, and a young Bill France placed 5th at the end of the day.
  • In early 1947, Bill France announced the foundation of the "National Championship Stock Car Circuit (NCSCC)". France approached the American Automobile Association, or AAA, in hopes of obtaining financial backing for the venture. When the AAA declined support of the venture, France proceeded to announce a set of rules and awards for the NCSCC. France declared that the winner of the 1947 NCSCC season would receive $1000.00, and a trophy.
  • The 1947 NCSCC had 40 events, it would begin in January 1947 at the Daytona Beach track, and conclude in Jacksonville the following December. The competitors were paid as promised, and by the end of the season, driver Fonty Flock was declared the season champion after winning 7 events of the 24 that he entered. Bill France delivered the $1000 and 4 foot high trophy to Flock at the end of the season, along with $3000 in prize money to other drivers who competed throughout the season.
  • NASCAR was conceived at a meeting on the top floor of the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida on December 14, 1947, organized by Bill France Sr. to discuss the future of stock car racing. The meeting was of 35 men who represented the NCSCC.
  • The original chosen for the series was National Stock Car Racing Association; however, the name was already in use by a rival sanctioning body, Hence, mechanic Red Vogt proposed "National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)" as the name of the association.
  • NASCAR was founded by William France, Sr., on February 21, 1948 with the help of several other drivers of the time. The points system was written on a bar room napkin. The original plans for NASCAR included three distinct divisions: Modified, Roadster, and Strictly Stock. However, Roadsters were perceived by fans as a Northeast or Midwest series, and hence were quickly abandoned. While, the modified division now operates as the Whelen Modified Tour. The Strictly Stock division was put on hold as American automobile manufacturers were unable to produce family sedans quickly enough to keep up with post-World War II demand.
  • The 1948 schedule featured 52 Modified dirt track races. The sanctioning body hosted its first event at Daytona Beach on February 15, 1948. Red Byron beat Marshall Teague in the Modified division race. Byron won the 1948 national championship.
  • The first NASCAR “Strictly Stock” (current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) race is held at Charlotte (N.C.) Fairgrounds Speedway on June 19, 1949. Jim Roper wins the race, Bob Flock wins the first pole and Sara Christian is credited as the first woman to race in NASCAR’s premier division.
  • NASCAR’s first paved superspeedway, the Darlington (S.C.) Raceway hosts the Southern 500 on Sept. 4, 1950. Driving a 1950 Plymouth, Johnny Mantz wins the first 500-mile event in NASCAR history.
  • The International 100 is held June 13, 1954 at Linden Airport in New Jersey, becoming the first road race in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Al Keller wins in a Jaguar.
  • The high-banked 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway hosts the first Daytona 500 on February 22, 1959. More than 41,000 fans were in attendance for the inaugural event in which the winner isn’t decided until 61 hours after the checkered flag flies. Lee Petty (42) is declared the winner by two feet after conclusive evidence from a newsreel is reviewed by Bill France Sr.
  • Wendell Scott becomes the first African-American to win a race in NASCAR’s premier series, beating Buck Baker at Jacksonville (Fla.) Speedway on December 1, 1963.
  • In 1969, Alabama International Speedway, now known as Talladega Superspeedway, opens in Talladega, Alabama, as the largest oval (2.66 miles) on the NASCAR circuit. Richard Brickhouse takes the win.
  • In 1972, one year after R.J. Reynolds’ Winston brand becomes title sponsor of NASCAR’s top division, founder Bill France Sr. hands over the reins of leadership to his son, Bill France Jr. The NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Division schedule is trimmed from 48 races to 31.
  • David Pearson and Richard Petty battle on national television in the Daytona 500 on February 15, 1976. When their cars are involved in an accident near the finish line, Pearson wins by nursing his battered Mercury to the checkered flag.
  • In 1979, CBS presents the first live flag-to-flag coverage of a NASCAR event with the Daytona 500. With Richard Petty taking the checkered flag, Cale Yarborough, Donnie Allison and Bobby Allison are involved in a fight in the infield grass, between Turns 3 and 4, following a wreck.
  • In 1984, Richard Petty earns his 200th win in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona International Speedway, setting a mark that has yet to be challenged.
  • The season finale on November 15, 1992, at Atlanta Motor Speedway is Richard Petty’s last race and Jeff Gordon’s first in NASCAR Sprint Cup, and five drivers are eligible to win the title. Driver-owner Alan Kulwicki leads one more lap than Bill Elliott to earn the five-point bonus and win the championship by 10 points.
  • In 1994, the series schedule expanded to include the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon claims the win in the first Brickyard 400.
  • In 1998, at the 40th running of the Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt earned a long-awaited 500 victory. It was Earnhardt's first 500 victory in 20 tries, and he was congratulated by every crew team on his way to Victory Lane.
  • In 2003, NASCAR announced a 10-year deal for Nextel to replace longtime series sponsor R.J. Reynolds’ Winston brand beginning in 2004. Brian Z. France becomes the new Chairman of the Board and CEO of NASCAR, replacing his father, Bill France Jr.
  • In 2004, Kurt Busch wins back-to-back championships for team owner Jack Roush by winning the first title in the new Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (now NASCAR Sprint Cup) format. Busch beat runner-up Jimmie Johnson by a mere eight points.
  • In his fifth full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Jimmie Johnson achieved coronation as a first-time champion, winning the 2006 title by 56 points over Matt Kenseth. No one knew that Johnson's breakthrough would launch a historic run of dominance. By 2010, Johnson earned the nickname of "Five-Time" with an unprecedented run of five consecutive championships.
  • In 2010, the inaugural class of inductees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame is inducted in Charlotte, North Carolina: Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson.
  • The 2011 championship ends in the first-ever tie, with Tony Stewart capturing his third title on a tiebreaker (wins) over Carl Edwards.
  • In just his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, 28-year-old Brad Keselowski earned team owner Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship in 2012. A lover of Twitter and Miller Lite, Keselowski outlasted Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer for the title. In the process, Keselowski joined Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Sr. as the only drivers to win a championship within their first three years.

 

Image Courtesy: searchenginejournal.com, nascar.com

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