One of the most popular sports in the United States, NASCAR has a rich history steeped in tradition. The following are some of the more important moments in the history of stock car racing’s governing body.
December 1947: By late 1947, stock car racing was growing in popularity, and tracks were struggling to handle the crowds and cars. Recognizing this and other issues, including less than trustworthy promoters who would often leave events before paying drivers, facing his sport, Bill France, Sr. organized a meeting in Daytona Beach, Fla. France, Sr. gathered owners, drivers and even mechanics at the Streamline Hotel, setting the foundation for NASCAR. Within months, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing would form.
February 1948: Behind the wheel of his Ford Modified, Red Byron wins the first sanctioned NASCAR race on a beach course in Daytona.
September 1950: Darlington International Raceway becomes the first asphalt super speedway to host a NASCAR event. Driving a 1950 Plymouth owned by France, Sr., Johnny Mantz won the 500-mile event.
July 1952: The first NASCAR competition to take place outside of the United States is held on a dirt track in Stamford Park, Ontario, Canada. The 200-mile event was won by Buddy Shuman and marked the only victory of Shuman’s career.
February 1959: The first Daytona 500 is held at what is now the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. The event, which remains the sport’s most prestigious race, coincided with the opening of the speedway. Lee Petty won the race, which featured a prize of just more than $19,000. By 2013, when Jimmie Johnson won his second Daytona 500, the winner’s purse had ballooned to more than $1.5 million.
December 1963: Wendell Scott wins a NASCAR race at Jacksonville Speedway, becoming the first African-American in NASCAR history to win a premier division race.
November 1979: Richard Petty, the son of inaugural Daytona 500 winner Lee Petty, wins his seventh series championship, a record at the time. Dale Earnhardt would later tie Petty, and both men still hold the record today.
February 1998: Racing in his twentieth Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt wins his first one, snapping a 59-race winless streak in the process.
2003: Brian France, the grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr., takes over as American CEO and Chairman of NASCAR, taking over the position from his father.
2004: The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup is announced. This announcement gave the sport a postseason similar to a playoff. Since 2008, this has been referred to as the “Chase for the Sprint Cup,” a name changed made necessary by the merger of NEXTEL and Sprint.
November 2009: Jimmie Johnson becomes the first driver to win four consecutive championships. Johnson would add to his legend the following season by winning his fifth consecutive championship and then again in 2013 by winning his sixth overall championship, leaving him one shy of the all-time record of seven championships held by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
courtesy of metro creative connection