The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is a family-owned and operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947-48. As of 2018, the CEO for the company is Jim France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr.[1] NASCAR is the largest sanctioning body of stock car racing in the United States.[2] The three largest racing series sanctioned by NASCAR are the Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. It also oversees NASCAR Local Racing, the Whelen Modified Tour, and the Whelen All-American Series. NASCAR sanctions over 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 39 states, Canada, and Mexico. NASCAR has presented exhibition races in Suzuka City, Japan, Motegi City, Japan, and Melbourne, Australia.[3]

NASCAR's headquarters are located in Daytona Beach, Florida, although it also maintains offices in four North Carolina cities: Charlotte, Mooresville, Concord, and Conover.[4] Regional offices are also located in New York City, Los Angeles, Bentonville, Arkansas, and international offices in Mexico City and Toronto. Additionally, owing to its southern roots, all but a handful of NASCAR teams are still based in North Carolina, especially near Charlotte.


Early stock car racing[]

In the 1920s and 1930s, Daytona Beach became known as the place to set world land speed records, supplanting France and Belgium as the preferred location for land speed records, with 8 consecutive world records set between 1927 and 1935.[5] After a historic race between Ransom Olds and Alexander Winton in 1903, the beach became a mecca for racing enthusiasts and fifteen records were set on what became the Daytona Beach road course between 1905 and 1935. By the time the Bonneville Salt Flats became the premier location for pursuit of land speed records, in 1936, Daytona beach had become synonymous with fast cars.[6] Drivers raced on a 4.1-mile (6.6 km) course, consisting of a 1.5 to 2-mile (3.2 km) stretch of beach as one straightaway, and a narrow blacktop beachfront highway, Florida State Road A1A, as the other. The two straights were connected by 2 tight, deeply rutted and sand covered turns at each end.[7]

Stock car racing in the United States has its origins in bootlegging during Prohibition, when drivers ran bootleg whiskey made primarily in the Appalachian region of the United States. Bootleggers needed to distribute their illicit products, and they typically used small, fast vehicles to better evade the police. Many of the drivers would modify their cars for speed and handling, as well as increased cargo capacity, and some of them came to love the fast-paced driving down twisty mountain roads.

The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 dried up some of their business, but by then Southerners had developed a taste for moonshine, and a number of the drivers continued "runnin' shine," this time evading the "revenuers" who were attempting to tax their operations.[8] The cars continued to improve, and by the late 1940s, races featuring these cars were being run for pride and profit. These races were popular entertainment in the rural Southern United States, and they are most closely associated with the Wilkes County region of North Carolina. Most races in those days were of modified cars. Street vehicles were lightened and reinforced.[9]

Significant people[]

William France, Sr.[]

Main article: Bill France, Sr.

Mechanic William "Bill" France, Sr., moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, from Washington, DC, in 1935 to escape the Great Depression. He was familiar with the history of the area from the land speed record attempts. France entered the 1936 Daytona event, finishing fifth. He took over running the course in 1938. He promoted a few races before World War II.

France had the notion that people would enjoy watching "stock cars" race. Drivers were frequently victimized by unscrupulous promoters who would leave events with all the money before drivers were paid. In 1947, he decided this racing would not grow without a formal sanctioning organization, standardized rules, regular schedule, and an organized championship. On December 14, 1947 France began talks with other influential racers and promoters at the Ebony Bar at the Streamline Hotel at Daytona Beach, Florida, that ended with the formation of NASCAR on February 21, 1948.[10]

Erwin "Cannonball" Baker[]

Main article: Erwin George Baker

The first Commissioner of NASCAR was Erwin "Cannonball" Baker. A former stock car, motorcycle, and open-wheel racer who competed in the Indianapolis 500 and set over one hundred land speed records. Cannonball Baker earned most of his fame for his transcontinental speed runs. Baker would prove a car's worth by driving it from New York to Los Angeles. After his death, the famous transcontinental race the 'Cannonball Run' and the film that was inspired by it were both named in his honor. Baker is enshrined in the Automotive Hall of Fame, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. This level of honor and success in each diverse racing association earned Baker the title of "King of the Road".[11]

Bob "Barky" Barkhimer[]

Main article: Bob Barkhimer

In the early 1950s the United States Navy stationed Bill France, Jr., at the Moffett Field Naval Air Station in northern California. His father asked him to look up Bob Barkhimer in San Jose, California. Barkhimer was a star of midget car racing from the World War II era, and later ran about 22 different speedways as the head of the California Stock Car Racing Association. Young Bill developed a relationship with Bob Barkhimer and his partner, Margo Burke. He went to events with them, stayed weekends with them and generally became very familiar with racing on the west coast. "Barky," as he was called by his friends, journeyed to Daytona Beach and met with Bill France, Sr. In the spring of 1954, NASCAR became a stock car sanctioning body on the Pacific Coast under Barky.


On March 8, 1936, a collection of drivers gathered at Daytona Beach, Florida. The drivers brought coupes. hardtops, convertibles, and sports cars to compete in an event to determine the fastest cars, and best drivers. Throughout the race, the heavier cars got bogged down in the sand, while the lightweight Fords navigated the ruts of the course, eventually claiming the top 6 finishes for the race. Of the 27 cars that started the event, only 10 managed to survive the ordeal, as officials halted the event 10 miles short of the scheduled 250 mile distance. Driver Milt Marion was declared the winner, and a young Bill France placed 5th at the end of the day.[12]

By early 1947 Bill France saw the potential for a unified series of racing competitors. France announced the foundation of the "National Championship Stock Car Series", otherwise known as NCSSC. France approached the American Automobile Association, or AAA, in hopes of obtaining financial backing for the venture. When the AAA declined support of the venture, France proceeded to announce a set of rules and awards for the NCSSC. France declared that the winner of the 1947 NCSSC season would receive $1000.00, and a trophy. The season would begin in January 1947 at the Daytona Beach track, and conclude in Jacksonville the following December. Nearly 40 events were logged during the season, and attendance often exceeded the venue's capacity. The competitors were paid as promised, and by the end of the season, driver Flonty Flock was declared the season champion after winning 7 events of the 24 that he entered. Bill France delivered the $1000 and 4 foot high trophy to Flock at the end of the season, along with $3000 in prize money to other drivers who competed throughout the season.[13]

At the end of the 1947 season, Bill France announced that there would be a series of meetings held at the Streamline Hotel in Florida, beginning on December 14, 1947. At 1:00 pm, France called to order the 35 men who represented the NCSCC on the top floor of the hotel. The meeting was the first of four seminars in which France would outline his vision of an organized group of race car drivers.[14]

NASCAR was founded by William France, Sr., on February 21, 1948 with the help of several other drivers of the time. The points system was written on a bar room napkin. The original plans for NASCAR included three distinct divisions: Modified, Roadster, and Strictly Stock. The Modified and Roadster classes were seen as more attractive to fans. It turned out that NASCAR fans wanted nothing to do with the roadsters, which fans perceived as a Northeast or Midwest series. The roadster division was quickly abandoned, while the modified division now operates as the Whelen Modified Tour. The Strictly Stock division was put on hold as American automobile manufacturers were unable to produce family sedans quickly enough to keep up with post-World War II demand.[15] The 1948 schedule featured 52 Modified dirt track races. The sanctioning body hosted its first event at Daytona Beach on February 15, 1948. Red Byron beat Marshall Teague in the Modified division race. Byron won the 1948 national championship. Things had changed dramatically by 1949, and the Strictly Stock division was able to debut with a 20-mile (32 km) exhibition in February near Miami.

The first NASCAR "Strictly Stock" race ever was held at Charlotte Speedway, although this is not the same track as the Charlotte Motor Speedway that is a fixture on current NASCAR schedule. The race was held on June 19, 1949 and won by driver Jim Roper when Glenn Dunnaway was disqualified after the discovery of his altered rear springs. Initially, the cars were known as the "Strictly Stock Division" and raced with virtually no modifications on the factory models. This division was renamed the "Grand National" division beginning in the 1950 season. Over a period of more than a decade, modifications for both safety and performance were allowed, and by the mid-1960s, the vehicles were purpose-built race cars with a stock-appearing body.

The first NASCAR competition held outside of the U.S. was in Canada, where on July 1, 1952, Buddy Shuman won a 200-lap race on a half-mile (800 m) dirt track in Stamford Park, Ontario, near Niagara Falls.

NASCAR-sanctioned series[]

Cup Series[]

Main article: Sprint Cup Series

The "NASCAR Sprint Cup Series" is the sport's highest level of professional competition. It is consequently the most popular and most profitable NASCAR series. The 2009 Sprint Cup season consists of 36 races over 10 months. Writers and fans often use "Cup" to refer to the Sprint Cup series and the ambiguous use of "NASCAR" as a synonym for the Sprint Cup series is common. Jimmie Johnson has won the last five consecutive Sprint Cup Series drivers' championships. He is the first winner of three in a row since Cale Yarborough.

The Cup Series had its first title sponsor in 1972. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which had been banned from television advertising, found a popular and demographically suitable consumer base in NASCAR fans and engaged NASCAR as a promotional outlet. As a result of that sponsorship, the Grand National Series became known as the Winston Cup Series (today called the Sprint Cup Series) starting in 1971,[16] with a new points system and some significant cash benefits to compete for championship points. In 1972, the season was shortened from 48 races (including two on dirt tracks) to 31.[16] 1972 is often acknowledged as the beginning of NASCAR's "modern era". The next competitive level, called Late Model Sportsman, gained the "Grand National" title passed down from the top division and soon found a sponsor in Busch Beer.

In 2004, NEXTEL took over sponsorship of the premier series from R. J. Reynolds, who had sponsored it as the Winston Cup from 1972 until 2003, and formally renamed it the NEXTEL Cup Series. A new championship points system, "The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup " was also developed, which reset the point standings with ten races to go, making only drivers in the top ten or within 400 points of the leader eligible to win the championship. In 2007, NASCAR announced it was expanding "The Chase" from ten to twelve drivers, eliminating the 400-point cutoff, and giving a ten-point bonus to the top twelve drivers for each of the races they have won out of the first 26. Wins throughout the season will also be worth five more points than in previous seasons. In 2008, the premier series title name became the Sprint Cup Series and The Chase for The NEXTEL Cup became the "Chase for the Sprint Cup", as part of the merger between NEXTEL and Sprint. After the sprint contract ended Monster Energy became the title sponser from 2017-2019. After 2019 it became the NASCAR Cup Series.

Xfinity Series[]

Main article: Nationwide Series

The "NASCAR Nationwide Series" is the second-highest level of professional competition in NASCAR. The most recent series champion is Kyle Busch in 2009.

The modern incarnation of this series began in 1982, with sponsorship by Anheuser-Busch Brewing's Budweiser brand. In 1984 it was renamed to the Busch Grand National Series. The Anheuser-Busch sponsorship expired at the end of 2007, and the series is now sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. Nationwide will also become NASCAR's official insurance agency replacing Allstate.

The Xfinity Series is currently the only series of the top three to race outside the United States. The season is a few races shorter than that of the Sprint Cup, and the prize money is significantly lower. However, over the last several years, a number of Sprint Cup drivers have run both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series events each weekend, using the Nationwide race as a warm-up to the Cup event at the same facility. Detractors of this practice believe this gives the Sprint Cup teams an unfair advantage, and that the presence of the Sprint Cup drivers squeezes out Nationwide Series competitors who would otherwise be able to qualify. These dual-series drivers have been labeled "Buschwhackers", a play on words which combines the original series sponsor's name with the notion of being bushwhacked. In May 2007, NNS director Joe Balash confirmed that NASCAR is exploring options to deal with the Buschwhacker controversy. One of the most often-cited proposals would be for Cup drivers participating in the Xfinity Series to receive no points for their participation in a Nationwide race. According to NASCAR Chairman at the time Brian France, all options, except an outright ban of Cup competitors, are still being considered.[17]

In 2010, the Nationwide cars adapted somewhat to the current "Car of Tomorrow" (or COT) design used by Cup cars, with different bodies from the Sprint Cup Series. Some critics hope that the discrepancy between the Nationwide and Sprint Cup cars will help solve the Buschwhacker problem by reducing the advantages of running both series. Then in 2017 at Richmond the cars changed into a composite body car.

Camping World Truck Series[]

Main article: Camping World Truck Series

The '"NASCAR Camping World Truck Series" features modified pickup trucks. It is one of the three national divisions of NASCAR, together with the Nationwide Series and the Sprint Cup. The most recent series champion was Johnny Benson in 2008; It was Benson's first championship in the series.

In 1994, NASCAR announced the formation of the NASCAR SuperTruck Series presented by Craftsman. The first series race followed in 1995. In 1996, the series was renamed the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to emphasize Craftsman's involvement. The series was first considered something of an oddity or a "senior tour" for NASCAR drivers, but eventually grew in popularity and has produced Sprint Cup series drivers who had never raced in the Nationwide Series.

Beginning in 2009 the series became the Camping World Truck Series.[18]

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series[]

Main article: NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is a NASCAR racing series in Canada that is based from the old CASCAR Super Series founded in 1981 and was bought out in 2006. The new series has races through six of Canada's provinces for a total of 13 events with TV coverage is on TSN. Many drivers are content running In Canada while others move up to bigger NASCAR series. The cars are a bit different from the Car Of Yesterday with more a street look with steel tube-framed silhouette bodies powered by carbureted spec V8 engines.

NASCAR Corona Series[]

Main article: NASCAR Corona Series

In December 2006, NASCAR also announced the creation of a new series in Mexico, the NASCAR Corona Series, replacing the existing Desafío Corona Series, to begin in 2007.

Regional racing series[]

In addition to the five main series, NASCAR operates several other racing circuits.[19][20]

Many local race tracks across the United States and Canada run under the Whelen All-American Series banner, where local drivers are compared against each other in a formula where the best local track champion of the nation wins the Whelen All-American Weekly Series National Championship. The Whelen All-American series is split into four divisions. Each division champion receives a point-fund money payout and even more goes to the National champion (driver with most points out of the four division winners). The Whelen All-American Series is the base for stock car racing, developing NASCAR names such as Clint Bowyer, Jimmy Spencer, Tony Stewart, the Bodine brothers and many others along the way.[21]

NASCAR also sanctions two regional racing divisions. The Whelen Modified Tour races open-wheel "modified" cars in Northern and Southern divisions. The Camping World Series, which consists of East and West divisions, race cars that are similar to Nationwide Series cars, although they are less powerful. In the past, NASCAR also sanctioned the AutoZone Elite Division, which raced late-model cars that were lighter and less powerful than Sprint Cup cars, and was originally split into four divisions: Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest. At the end of 2005, NASCAR announced that the AutoZone Elite Division would be discontinued after the 2006 season due to having trouble securing NASCAR-sanctioned tracks to successfully host AutoZone Elite Division events, plus escalating costs of competing and downsizing of the Division in recent years.

In 2003, NASCAR standardized rules for its AutoZone Elite and Grand National divisions regional touring series as to permit cars in one series to race against cars in another series in the same division. The top 15 (Grand National) or 10 (AutoZone Elite) in each series will race in a one-race playoff, called the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, to determine the annual AutoZone Elite and Grand National champions. This event has been hosted at Irwindale Speedway in California since its inception.

Many drivers move up through the series before reaching the Sprint Cup series. In 2002, over 9,000 drivers had licenses from NASCAR to race at all levels.

The winners of the Dodge Weekly Series National Championship, the four AutoZone Elite Divisions, the two Whelen Modified and Grand National Divisions, and the three national series are invited to New York City in December to participate in Champions Week ceremonies which conclude with the annual awards banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.


NASCAR has seen many changes in its cars since the first NASCAR event in 1949. Starting with the first generation of the standard production cars to today's top performance race cars, this section will give you a full recap of NASCAR's race cars past and present.

First Generation[]

The first generation of NASCAR Race Cars began in 1949 right at the green flag of the NASCAR's first ever event. Back then, there were very little restrictions on what the cars had to be like and there was no limit on what manufacture. The cars ranged from Fords to even a few non-american car manufactures. These cars also had very little safty features and deaths, both driver and spectactor, were more common then they should be.

Second Generation[]

Driver safety[]

Main article: NASCAR rules and regulations#Safety

Although NASCAR frequently publicizes the safety measures it mandates for drivers, these features are often only adopted long after they were initially developed. The impact-absorbing "SAFER Barrier" that is now in use had been proposed by legendary mechanic Smokey Yunick during the 1970s, but his idea had been dismissed as too expensive and unnecessary. Only after the deaths of Kenny Irwin, Tony Roper, Adam Petty, and Dale Earnhardt in 2000 and 2001 did NASCAR revisit the idea of decreasing the G-forces a driver sustained during a crash. Other examples of available safety features that were slow to be implemented include the mandating of a throttle "kill switch". The "kill switch" was mandated after the death of Adam Petty, along with the requirements of an anti-spill bladder in fuel cells. Fire-retardant driver suits were required only after the death of Glen "Fireball" Roberts, who died from complications of burns suffered in a crash when flames engulfed his car during a Talladega race. Dale Earnhardt was killed after he received massive head and neck trauma from a hard crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt's death prompted NASCAR to require all drivers to use the "HANS Device" (Head And Neck Restraint System), a device that keeps the driver's neck from going forward in a wreck. Also with the introduction of the COT (Car of Tomorrow), safety features of the car itself has been greatly improved.


Main article: Criticism of NASCAR

Similar to other professional leagues and sanctioning bodies, NASCAR has been the target of criticism on various topics from various sources. Some critics note the significant differences between today's NASCAR vehicles and true "stock" cars. Others frequently cite the dominance of the France family in NASCAR's business structure, policies, and decision making. Recently, the increased number of Cup drivers competing consistently in the Nationwide Series races has been hotly debated. Another general area of criticism, not only of NASCAR but other motorsports as well, includes questions about fuel consumption, emissions and pollution, and the use of lead additives in the gasoline. While other series, such as the FIA Formula One series have addressed these criticisms by instituting "green" mandates,[22] NASCAR has not. As NASCAR has made moves to improve its national appeal, it has begun racing at new tracks, and ceased racing at some traditional ones — a sore spot for the traditional fan base. Most recently, NASCAR has been challenged on the types and frequency of caution flags, with some critics suggesting the outcome of races is being manipulated, and that the intention is not safety, as NASCAR claims, but closer racing. There have been numerous accidents during races and even some off the tracks, with several spectators receiving fatal injuries. It was revealed in 2008 that one wrongful death lawsuit against NASCAR was settled for $2.4 million.[23] [24][]

In October 2000, the Time Warner Company, Turner Sports Interactive, acquired all of NASCAR's interactive rights and the rights to the domain. As of January 2001, Turner Sports Interactive is the exclusive producer, and is the official site for NASCAR Inc. The NASCAR.COM staff is located in Atlanta, with additional personnel in Charlotte and Daytona Beach.[25] The domain is currently leased through Network Solutions, and extends through the year 2016.[26]

Subsidiaries and ‘sister’ organizations[]

NASCAR Digital Media[]

NASCAR Digital Media is a television production company located in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. The company is a subsidiary of NASCAR and produces programs designed to promote the sport of professional stock car racing.

International Speedway Corporation[]

While not officially connected to NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1953 to construct and manage tracks that NASCAR holds competitions at. Since several members of the France family are executives at ISC, it is sometimes the subject of antitrust lawsuits.[27]


The Grand American Road Racing Association (Grand-Am) is a sanctioning body of sports car racing. While it was founded independently of NASCAR by several members of the France family, NASCAR has since taken over Grand-Am, but allows it to operate autonomously.


NASCAR Technical Institute located in Mooresville, North Carolina, is the country's first technical training school to combine a complete automotive technology program and a NASCAR-specific motor sports program, and is the exclusive educational partner of NASCAR.

NASCAR Gaming[]

For fans who want to experience NASCAR hands on but can't afford to compete in any NASCAR series or attend any races or just simply want to bing the racing home, NASCAR has produced several video games dating back to the early 1980s. This section will give you a run-down on all of them.

  • Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge
  • Richard Petty's Talledega Challenge
  • NASCAR Racing: 1997 Season
  • NASCAR 98
  • NASCAR 99
  • NASCAR 2000
  • NASCAR 2001
  • NASCAR Thunder 2002
  • NASCAR Thunder 2003
  • NASCAR Racing: 2003 Season
  • NASCAR Thunder 2004
  • NASCAR 2005: Chase For The Nextal Cup
  • NASCAR 06: Total Team Control
  • NASCAR 07
  • NASCAR 08
  • NASCAR 09
  • NASCAR Kart Racing
  • NASCAR The Game 2011
  • NASCAR The Game 2011: '11 Update DLC
  • NASCAR Unleashed
  • NASCAR The Game: Inside Line 2012
  • NASCAR The Game: Inside Line 2013 DLC


See also[]


Note 1: The largest NASCAR tracks can accommodate upwards of 190,000 people in the stands and infield, far larger than any non-motorsport venue in North America.


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  11. Lap #1 How Barky Got Started RACING, Davis Motorsports, reminiscence by Bob Barkhimer, former race driver and Business Manager for BCRA (Bay Cities Racing Association) and NASCAR co-founder
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  13. Fielden, Greg (2005). "The National Championship Stock Car Circuit". In Editors of Consumer Guide. NASCAR: A Fast History. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Publications International Ltd.. pp. 15. 
  14. Fielden, Greg (2005). "The Streamline Hotel and the Birth of NASCAR". In Editors of Consumer Guide. NASCAR: A Fast History. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Publications International Ltd.. pp. 15. 
  15. Fleischman, Bill; Al Pearce (1999). The Unauthorized NASCAR Fan Guide (1998-99). Visible Ink Press. pp. 6. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Fielden, Greg. NASCAR Chronicle. Publications International, Ltd., Lincolnwood, Illinois, USA, 2006. p. 36.
  17. Fryer, Jenna (December 09, 2007). "NASCAR toying with ideas for 'Buschwhackers'". AP Auto Racing Writer. The World Link, Southwestern Oregon Publishing Company. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  18. Official Release (October 24, 2008). "Camping World to be title sponsor for Truck Series"., Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  19. "NASCAR History". Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
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  21. "PaddockTalk". Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  22. "'Green' engines given F1 go-ahead" (in International Version). Motorsport. BBC Sports. 7 August 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  23. "Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against NASCAR settled for $2.4 Million". September 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
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  26. "Whois Record for". Network Solutions. December 28, 1995. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  27. "Speedway says it was jilted in NASCAR conspiracy" Retrieved August 21, 2009

External links[]