NASCAR stands for The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. It was founded in Florida in 1947 by William France. Before this, stock car racing had evolved from fast production cars that were used to carry bootleg whiskey in the Prohibition era. Many early races in the 1930’s were held at Daytona Beach and at other dirt racetracks in the rural South-East of America.
The first races organised by NASCAR were held for cars that had few modifications, but by the 1960’s, vehicles were purpose-built racing cars. Over the decades that followed, the popularity of NASCAR races grew immensely, with huge crowds at events and many of the drivers becoming household names in America. Names such as Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt “The Intimidator”, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Ned Jarrett and Tim Flock are all now part of NASCAR folklore.
Today, the NASCAR Cup Series is the main competition with 36 races being held every year over a ten month period. The Daytona 500 race is regarded as the most prestigious race on the calendar with most wins being achieved by Richard Petty – seven in all. The 2021 winner was Michael McDowell driving a Ford Mustang, coming first in a field of 40 cars.