NASCAR sanctions stock car racing at various oval track venues in North America, with occasional visits to road courses. While NASCAR's major series are all pavement based using stock-appearing street cars and trucks, NASCAR also sanctions many smaller ovals, both paved and unpaved, and continues to sanction other types of stock derived car such as Modifieds.
Last Updated: 2007-01-07
NASCAR was founded on February 21st, 1948, by William France, Senior and a group of racing drivers who shared France's concerns about the future of racing. Their goal was to provide a stable organizational and sanctioning framework for stock car racing, something that had been absent in post WWII racing. NASCAR initially planned for 3 divisions -- Modifieds, Strictly Stock, and Roadsters.
Sources show the first NASCAR race was held on February 15th, 1948, on the second Daytona Beach oval, which would be 6 days before NASCAR was formally organized. This race was for the Modified division.
The first Strictly Stock race was held at Charlotte Speedway on June 19th, 1949. For 1950, the Strictly Stock Division was renamed to 'Grand National Division'. In 1972, the Grand National Division was renamed 'Winston Cup', and eventually the Grand National name was recycled for the junior Busch Grand National series. In 2004, Winston Cup became 'Nextel Cup'.
Over the years, Grand National/Nextel Cup migrated away from its 'Strictly Stock' roots. At the present time, the cars are built as steel tube frame structures with stock-appearing bodywork draped over the frame (SCCA GT and Trans Am cars are of very similar construction). The bodywork must match templates approved by NASCAR. Engines are restricted to small block V-8s sourced from the appropriate manufacturer (many years ago, the engine formula was much less restricted, and big blocks were commonly run during the 1960s.)
The truck series was introduced experimentally in 1993, and formalized as the SuperTruck series in 1995. In 1996, it became the Craftsman truck series.
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