National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock-car racing. Its three largest or National series are Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. Regional series include NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, the Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Pinty’s Series NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series. NASCAR sanctions over 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 39 US states as well as in Canada and Mexico and Europe and has presented races at the Suzuka and Motegi circuits in Japan, and the Calder Park Thunderdome in Australia. NASCAR also ventures into eSports via the PEAK Antifreeze NASCAR iRacing Series and a sanctioned ladder system on that title.
The privately owned company was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1948, and his grandson Brian France has been CEO since 2003. The company’s headquarters are in Daytona Beach, Florida. Internationally, its races are broadcast on television in over 150 countries.
In the 1920s and 30s, 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. After a historic race between Ransom Olds and Alexander Winton in 1903, the beach became a mecca for racing enthusiasts and 15 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, Daytona Beach had become synonymous with fast cars in 1936. Drivers raced on a 4.1-mile (6.6 km) course, consisting of a 1.5–2.0-mile (2.4–3.2 km) stretch of beach as one straightaway, and a narrow blacktop beachfront highway, State Road A1A, as the other. The two straights were connected by two tight, deeply rutted and sand covered turns at each end.
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. 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.
NASCAR premier series champions since 1949: