If you’ve ever thought about going to watch an exciting NASCAR race but you feel intimidated because you don’t know very much about the sport, we’ve got you covered. We’re passionate about NASCAR here at your hometown Ocala Honda dealership, Honda of Ocala. And we’d like to share that passion with you by introducing you to this supercharged, super-fast, super exciting spectator sport.
We’ll start with a brief history of NASCAR as we trace how it’s evolved from humble beginnings to one of the world’s most popular sporting events.
NASCAR – The Early Years
World War II had ended, and America was getting back to normalcy. GIs returned home and were eager to get back behind the wheel. Craving excitement, backyard speed demons fueled an explosion of makeshift tracks throughout the country where they could show off their driving skills. Some improvised tracks sprung up briefly during county fairs. Races were often chaotic affairs and rules varied from track to track. Nonetheless, stock car racing was drawing crowds from coast to coast. But it soon became apparent that some organization of this growing sport needed to happen.
Enter Bill France, Sr. He was a strong-willed man who had a vision of what stock car racing could become. He organized the first meeting of track owners in Daytona Beach in December 1947 organizing the National Association for Stock Car Racing to establish set standards for the sport. The first NASCAR race was held on Feb. 15, 1948, with the legendary Red Byron besting his rivals on Daytona’s beach-road course in his modified Ford. Six days after the race, on Feb. 21, 1948, NASCAR was officially incorporated.
Shortly after that, in 1949, Jim Roper of Great Bend, KS won the first NASCAR Grand National race at the Charlotte Fairgrounds. This would become what we know today as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the sport’s premier racing division. In 1950, Darlington Raceway opened in South Carolina, becoming the nation’s first asphalt superspeedway. This was followed by the storied Daytona International Speedway, debuting as one of the largest such facilities in the world. The first Daytona 500 ended in a photo finish between Lee Petty and Johnny Beauchamp. It would be three days before Petty was declared the winner. Continue reading