NASCAR History in Brief
NASCAR history started with the stock car racing gaining popularity as early as 1936, with the first unofficial & informal race held in 1938. This was then promoted by Bill France Sr. after being asked to do so by the car racers who usually hang out on his service station.
France together with other big names in stock car racing at that time then held a meeting at Streamline Hotel where they contributed ideas on their plans for NASCAR. They were then able to come up with guidelines, which include the schedule of the race, the rules that govern the race, and the prize money involved. A board of governors was formed with Bill France Sr. as the President. A fellow named Red Boyt was the man who coined the name NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) – a critical point in NASCAR history.
The very first official NASCAR race was held on February 15, 1948 at Daytona Beach. Red Byron was declared winner of that race. One week later after the event, NASCAR was then incorporated making this major milestone in NASCAR history.
The main thrust then of NASCAR was that it should appeal to the average person, and thus the racers made use of only “stock” equipment, or cars which were not modified in any way.
The first purely stock event was held in June 1949 in Charlotte, N.C. The rules then required that the racecars should all be American made, and if ever modifications were to be done on the racecars, it was only the metal plate that protected the right front tire that was allowed. There were 33 drivers competing with almost every type of American made car represented in that race.
For this event, over 13,000 people came and watched the race. Their target to make it appealing to the average person succeeded. Glen Dunaway walked out a winner of that race, not until it was found out that a modification was made on his racecar’s rear springs. He was disqualified and Jims Roper was declared the true winner.
The race then evolved to what was then called the Grand National Division, or what is known now as the Winston Cup. On this first year, Red Byron was the overall champion with 9 more races held that year. On the second year, a total of 21 races were scheduled.
NASCAR history had many other milestones along the way. And this we owe mainly to Mr. Bill France Sr. NASCAR racing would not been possible without his guidance and efforts. NASCAR history is indeed very colorful, and a brighter future continues to lie ahead.