All You Need To Know About NASCAR
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If you love sports car racing, you may have heard of NASCAR. It has become a huge name marked in the industry for long decades. If you are interested in knowing further about this organization’s functions and origins, read on and see how the organization started from scratch and skyrocketed to fame.
What is it?
NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Racing. It started in 1920 to try setting land speed records on Daytona Beach in Florida.
NASCAR is a family-run business that governs and sanctions several auto-racing events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1948. Brian France, Bill’s grandson, then became the CEO in the year 2003. It’s a distinguished stock-racing organization in the motorsports industry.
The company has 3 large racing series, including the Xfinity Series, Sprint Cup Series, and Camping World Truck Series. NASCAR also supervises the Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR Local Racing, and NASCAR iRacing.com Series. On top of this, they also sanction more than 1,500 vehicle races at more than 100 tracks throughout the 39 out of 50 states in the US, including Canada. The organization also tried presenting exhibition races in Japan’s Motegi and Suzuka circuits, Mexico’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, and Australia’s Calder Park Thunderdome.
The company’s official headquarters is located in Daytona Beach, Florida. It also has offices in North Carolina cities; namely, Concord, Charlotte, and Conover. They also have regional offices in Los Angeles and New York. Their international offices include one in Toronto and another in Mexico City. Since the organization has roots from the south, most of the teams are from North Carolina, particularly in Charlotte.
NASCAR ranks 2nd to the National Football League amongst the most professional sports franchise in the US television. NASCAR is internationally broadcast in more than 150 countries. In the year 2004, the Director of Security of NASCAR has announced that the organization has 17 out of the Top 20 consistently attended one-day sports events across the globe.
Significant people behind NASCAR’s success
William France, Sr.
William France Sr. is a mechanic who moved from Washington DC to the Daytona Beach in Florida to get rid of the Great Depression. William knows well the place’s history– from record attempts to land speed. France took part in the Daytona event in 1936 and raked in the 5th spot. In 1938, he then took over the operation of the course. He was able to promote some races before the start of World War 2.
France believed that people will really enjoy watching every stock car race. However, drivers were usually abused by promoters who just run away with all the cash without paying the drivers. In the year 1947, France decided that the racing world won’t grow unless a formal and professional sanctioning organization is set with regulated rules, consistent schedule, and a well-organized championship.
In December 1947, he started to reach out to other influential promoters and racers and ended up forming the NASCAR in February 1948.
Erwin “Cannonball” Baker
Erwin “Cannonball” Baker was the very first NASCAR’s Commissioner. He was a motorcycle, open-wheel and stock car racer that also competed in the Indianapolis 500; he successfully set more than 100 land-speed records. He earned his fame mostly because of his coast-to-coast speed-runs and when he proved a car’s worth when he drove one from New York all the way to Los Angeles.
Following the legend’s death, The Cannonball Run along with the film which it inspired were named in his tribute. He’s placed in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Automotive Hall of fame, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. His great level of achievement earned him the title “King of the Road”.
Bob “Barky” Barkhimer
In the ‘50s, the Bill France Jr. was stationed by the US Navy at the Moffett Federal Airfield in the north of California. His dad told him to search for Bob Barkhimer in San Joe, California. Bob was a great midget car racer since the World War 2 times. He ran around 22 various speedways as the leader of the California Stock Car Racing Association. Bill then managed to establish a smooth relationship with Barkhimer together with his partner Margo Burke.
Bill usually went to various events with the couple, stayed over weekends at their place, and generally got to familiarize west coast racing. “Barky”, as he usually was addressed by friends has gone to Daytona Beach and discussed with Bill France, Sr. In 1954, NASCAR was set to be a stock-car sanctioning entity on the Pacific Coast under Barkhimer .
Wendell Scott was the very first African-American who won the NASCAR Premier Series Trophy and the Sprint Cup Series (then called the Grand National Series), which is the highest level of NASCAR. He was also one of the biggest names on NASCAR’s hall of fame.
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On March 8, 1936, a group of drivers congregated at Daytona Beach in Florida. They all brought sports cars, hardtops, coupes, and convertibles to rival in a big event and distinguish the fastest cars and the best drivers. During the whole course of the race, the heftier vehicles were bogged down through the sand while those lightweight ones like Fords navigated the course’s grooves, reaching the top six ranks of the race. Among twenty-seven cars that participated the race, only ten managed to last. Milt Marion was the winner; the young Bill got the 5th place.
Earlier in 1947, Bill realized the big potential of a unified series of racing contests. He then founded the “National Championship Stock Car Circuit” or NCSCC. He even went to the AAA or American Automobile Association in the hopes of getting some backing for his pursuit. AAA has declined to support, and France just continued to set the rules for the NCSCC. He announced that the champion of the 1947 NCSCC seasons will receive a trophy and $1000 cash. The season began in January 1947 at Daytona Beach track; it ended December of the same year in Jacksonville. Almost forty events were logged throughout the season. The attendance even exceeded the capacity of the venue. As promised, the winners were all paid with Fonty Flock as the champion, winning 7 out of 24 events.
With the help of other drivers of their time, William France, Sr., was able to found the NASCAR. The point system was even just laid out on a bar room napkin. The initial plan for the organization included 3 unique divisions: Strictly Stock. Modified, and Roadster. The Sticky Stock was placed on hold as the American automobile manufactured weren’t able to make family sedans quickly enough to keep up with the demand. The Roadster and Modified divisions were viewed as the most attractive. However, it all turned out that the NASCAR fans didn’t like roasters that much; Fans thought it to be a Northwest to Midwest series. The Roaster class was also quickly abandoned. (The modified class is now running as Whelen Modified Tour).
The sanctioning body hosted the first event on February 15, 1948 at Daytona Beach. Byron won the 1948 national championship.
The very first Strictly Stock race of NASCAR was held at the Charlotte Speedway. (different from the track set on the current NASCAR schedule). The Strictly Stock race was held on June 19, 1949; it was won by Kim Roer. This class was then renamed to “Grand National” division since the 1950 season. For over a decade, certain modifications of both his performance and safety of cars were made. By mid ’60s, the cars started to have been purposely built for car racing with a stock-looking build.
The first NASCAR competition which was held internationally (outside US) was in Canada on July 1, 1952, near the Niagara Falls. Buddy Shuman was then the champion.
Today NASCAR is still going strong and many fans are still attached to it because they consistently organize events that are smooth and trouble-free. Their fan base now reaches over 75 million.
The biggest stars today include Petty, Earnhardt, and Juan Pablo Montoya. Today’s cars are advanced versions of the everyday vehicles. The parts are built to last, the quality is enhanced, and the safety is better set.
Like any other organizations, NASCAR has also received a fair share of criticisms about fuel consumption, pollution, the dominance of the France family in the business, safety, etc. However, that didn’t stop it from rising decade by decade. People always throw rocks on things that shine, and NASCAR appreciates criticisms than loathing them because these enable them to become better and better. Because of these, their safety measures and regulations currently set have become much tougher to ensure that each event is seamless and carefree.
It is expected that NASCAR will continue to flourish and succeed because their passion, to thrive and to bring a real sense of entertainment to people, is always present.
If you want to know more about NASCAR, you can visit their website at nascar.com, so you can stay tuned with the recent schedules, results, standings, teams, news and videos about the all NASCAR racing events. Whether you’re a spectator or a participant, we surely owe NASCAR big time because of their consistent efforts in bringing us nothing else but their best.