Nascar History

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  • Topic: Sprint Cup Series, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona 500
  • Pages : 9 (3515 words )
  • Download(s) : 263
  • Published : December 8, 2008
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NASCAR history can trace its roots back to 1794. That's a century before the invention of the automobile, but it was the year of the Whiskey Rebellion. This was a protest of a federal tax on whiskey by frontier farmers. Instead of being subject to the tax, many frontiersmen built secret stills, manufactured, and delivered their product in secret. Most people do not know that this is the true origin of NASCAR history. During the Prohibition era of the 1920's and early 30's, the undercover business of moonshine running began to boom. The common term for moonshine runners was bootlegger. Bootleggers were men who illegally ran whiskey from hidden stills to hundreds of markets across the Southeast. Driving at high speeds at night was dangerous. The penalty for losing the race was jail or loss of life. As bootlegging boomed, the drivers began to race among themselves to see who had the fastest cars. The races were held on Sunday afternoons and then the cars were used to haul moonshine later that night. As you might expect, people came to see the races, and racing moonshine cars became extremely popular in the back roads of the South. In the summer of 1938 a man named William H.G. "Bill" France organized a race on the wide, firm sands of Daytona Beach, Florida. The winner received such items as a bottle of rum, a box of cigars, and a case of motor oil. NASCAR history had begun. France knew for stock car racing to grow, an official organization had to exist. The outbreak of World War II brought stock car racing to a halt. The drivers went to war and the production of new cars ceased. At the end of the war, some drivers came back and ran occasional, random races at places like the beach at Daytona. By 1947, Bill France realized it was time for a national sanctioning body to govern stock car racing. On December 12th, 1947 France gathered promoters from the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest. Over the next three days rules were drawn and specifications agreed upon. The name of the organization would by NASCAR- the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. The first "true" NASCAR race was held at the Charlotte (N.C.) Fairgrounds on June 19, 1949. The division of NASCAR in which this race was held was called the "Strictly Stock" division. "The 'Strictly Stock' division was open to competitors who drove full-sized, American made passenger cars. The cars had to be complete with bodies, hoods, fenders, bumpers, and grilles. The winner of that race was Glenn Dunnaway in a '47 Ford. After the race, however, inspectors found an illegal part in the shocks of his car. The car had been used for bootlegging earlier that week, and the illegal shock wedge was used often to increase speed of bootlegging cars. Dunnaway's car owner sued but NASCAR won the case. Jim Roper, driving a '49 Lincoln, went down as the winner of the first ever NASCAR race. At the end of the season it was Red Byron who became NASCAR's first ever national champion. On September 4, 1950, the concept of the "super speedway" became a reality at Darlington, South Carolina. The first Southern 500 was held that day, on a track larger, wider, and faster than any stock car driver had ever seen before. Johnny Mantz won in a 1950 Plymouth. Through the 1950's NASCAR began to grow. Corporate sponsors, such as Pure Oil and Champion Sparkplugs took an interest in the sport. Even the major automobile manufacturers, such as Ford, Chevrolet, and Chrysler gave "factory backing" or “sponsorship” to individual drivers. A common motto for these automobile manufacturers was "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday". The car companies realized the potential of racing to sell cars. In the 1950's, NASCAR held races in such places as Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia and Soldier Field in Chicago. NASCAR faced its first major crisis when all of the automobile manufacturers pulled out of racing in May 1957 following an incident at the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where five people-including an 8 year old boy...
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