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Nascar History Began with a Founder!

In December 1947, the Nascar founder, Bill France Sr., organized a meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida, to discuss some of the issues surrounding stock car racing. It was from this initial meeting that the sport of Nascar arose.

By 1947, stock car racing was already extremely popular. Unfortunately, however, there was little continuity between races. Some tracks were makeshift and intended for only one or two races during a carnival or county fair. On the other hand, some tracks were well-made, but the facilities were unable to accomodate the huge crowds that gathered for the race. It was with the hope of fixing a few of these problems that France called his meeting and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) developed.

It is doubtful that even the Nascar founder envisioned what Nascar would become. However, it was immediately obvious that Nascar was going to become a huge success; in 1949, eight events were held.

The Nascar Founder and His Family

Both the Nascar founder and his family have remained active in Nascar since the very beginning. Bill France Sr. ran the business until 1972, when he handed it over to his son, Bill France Jr. France Sr. passed away in 1992. Now, Brian France, the son of France Jr., runs Nascar. His sister, Lesa France Kennedy, is the president of the International Speedway Corporation (ISC), which owns eleven racetracks, including Daytona.

In addition to the handing down of Nascar from father to son, Nascar has experienced some other huge changes in its fifty-plus years. For example, in 1971, the Winston Cup Series, the most elite division of Nascar, began. The idea started with the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company, who, after being banned from advertising on radio or television, wanted to sponsor a car in exchange for placing their logo in a prominent position on the vehicle. Also, in 1974, the OPEC gas crisis caused Nascar to cut the Dayton 500 to 450 miles in an attempt to save gasoline.

In spite of the widespread popularity of Nascar, its history has been peppered with difficulties. For one thing, there have been multiple deaths of Nascar drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, who was the twenty-seventh fatality at the Daytona International Speedway. Nevertheless, Nascar drivers and fans know that dangers exist in nearly all sports, and a decrease in popularity will not likely be seen anytime in the near future.

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