How NASCAR Got its Start
From flag waving to flyovers, NASCAR is a quintessential American pastime. In fact, it’s the second-most watched televised spectator sport in the country. However, as popular as stock car racing is, its incredible origins aren't widely known. Our experts at Caliber Collision have hit the books to bring you a quick overview of how these stock cars became the superstars they are today. Fasten your seatbelts — we're putting this history lesson in the fast lane.
A Racy Start
While most sports can be traced back to ancient times or classic games, stock car racing takes another approach — one with predictably speedy origins. From 1920 to 1933, the United States instituted a nationwide ban on alcohol production and sales, known as the Prohibition. Of course, that didn't stop folks from independently distilling their own, and they needed a way to transport their product without fear of getting caught by law enforcement. Their solution? Stock cars. These "moon runners" soon began bragging about their 120 mph exploits, leading to weekend races to see who really ruled the road. Thus, stock car racing was born.
NASCAR Fires Up
By the time Prohibition ended in 1933, races had already become a huge hit in small towns across the South. Racing was officially recognized as a sport in just 15 years, but they all shared one problem — rules differed in every region, creating widespread issues. To remedy this, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was established, bringing cohesiveness and regulation to the sport, and the first official race was given the green light on Daytona Beach in 1948.
News Travels Fast
The original NASCAR format actually planned for three race divisions: Modified, Roadster and Strictly Stock. The Roadster division quickly fell by the wayside, since that type of vehicle was deemed too "Northern" for the tastes of this primarily-Southern fanbase. The Strictly Stock competitions quickly gained traction, and by 1959, the inaugural Daytona 500 was held. The 1970s brought big-name sponsorships to the sport, transforming car exteriors into the high-speed collages of logos we know today. The 70s introduced fans to a few famous names, notably Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, and the sport's popularity hasn't slowed down since.
NASCAR has come a long way since the days of racing on the beaches of Daytona. Stock car racing, as the name implies, was originally between cars that hadn't been modified from their factory builds, but time and technology advancements soon changed that. Today's cars are only "stock" in name, using a body template that's vaguely reminiscent of current street models. Under the hood, these speed machines produce upward of 750 horsepower with the help of more than a few state-of-the-art modifications. While plenty has changed in the sport's near 100-year history, one thing has stayed the same — a fanbase that rivals any other in the world.
NASCAR's history is full of as many twists and turns as you'd expect from a sport that lives in the fast lane, and we're revved up to see what the rest of this season has in store. Unfortunately, dents don't distinguish between the speedway and the highway. Should the worst happen, you've got our own personal collision repair pit crew at Caliber Collision, and when it comes to Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life®, we always finish first.
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