Today, racing fans enjoy learning more about the history of NASCAR (“the National Association for Stock Car Racing”). The popular auto sports association started as a small regional organization. It transformed in scope and influence during the second half of the Twentieth Century to become a household name.
On May 23, 2010, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, inducted its first members. The honorees included some leading names in the sport. Today, millions of people recognize the names of Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Richard Petty, Bill France, Sr. and Bill France, Jr.
The Founding of NASCAR
Modern NASCAR traces its roots to the Great Depression. In 1935, businessman Bill France, Sr. moved to Daytona from Washington, D.C. He worked in several auto-related businesses and eventually gained prominence, helping to organize stock car racing outside of Daytona Beach.
By 1947, Bill France, Sr. began speaking with stock car racing enthusiasts about establishing NASCAR as a formal organization. The association conducted its first official race in Daytona Beach on February 15, 1948. Red Byron crossed the finish line first driving a Ford.
Expanding a Successful Family Business
Bill France, Sr. served as the CEO of NASCAR until his retirement in 1972. His son, Bill France, Jr., followed in his footsteps. During this period, NASCAR conducted well-attended racing events. It developed from a primarily Southern regional firm into a nationwide, highly visible racing organization.
Richard Petty garnered national media attention when he established a record by winning the Series Championship on November 187, 1979. Drivers such as Junior Johnson, Wendell Scott, Buck Baker, Janet Guthrie, and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. set records and gained fame in the sport during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Although Bill France, Sr. retired at the turn of the century, NASCAR’s racing activities (and popularity) continued. Brian France served as the CEO from 2003 until 2018. Today, despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the racing association remains a fixture in the automotive competition landscape.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, helps preserve the history of the sport. The site includes memorabilia. It helps preserve NASCAR history.