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Nascar History

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  • Category: History

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NASCAR is one of the most rapidly growing sports in the world. There are people who think that NASCAR is just a bunch of hicks going around in circles, but it takes skill to drive at two-hundred miles per hour. I am going to talk about the history of NASCAR, early drivers of NASCAR, the three NASCAR divisions, the rules, and the new technology.

Two of NASCAR’s oldest races are the ones that are at Charlotte, North Carolina and Daytona international Speedways. Charlotte Motor Speedway was designed and built in 1959 by Bruton Smith. Curtis Turner, stock car’s earliest driving star, was Smith’s business partner. Turner became one of the first drivers on the NASCAR circuit after he debuted in 1949. Together, they built their dream of a 1.4 mile superspeedway.

Daytona International on the other hand is the most famous track. It holds the first race of every season. Daytona International Speedway, in Florida, is the home of The Great American Race, The Daytona 500, is the biggest, richest, and most prestigious race in America. Although the Daytona 500 has more of the attention than other tracks, the enormous track has the most diverse schedule of racing in the world, earning it the title of “World Center of Racing.” There are a lot of drivers who stood out in the past but I am going to only talk about the one who had the most talent and skill. Richard Petty is the most skilled racer in NASCAR history so I will talk about him first. During the 32 years of Petty’s racing career on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, he has seen the sport grow from the dirt tracks of North Carolina to speedways of pavement. Richard Petty’s impact on the sport of motor racing outstrips the glory of any one of his victory lanes. Petty was born in North Carolina on June 2, 1937.

The King began his life and career from humble beginnings. His father raced cars, and Petty often traveled with his mother and his brother, following his father’s career. When Petty was young he watched his father race and win three Grand National championships. Maurice, Petty’s brother, went to work on engines. In 1958 Petty stated to race on the track. Between winning his first race at Charlotte in 1960, and running his last race at the Atlanta in 1992, Richard Petty’s record cannot be compared fairly. He may be retired but could still out race lots of people. In NASCAR there are three different divisions, the Nationwide Series, the Sprint Cup Series, and the World Camping truck Series. The NASCAR Nationwide Series is a stock car racing series owned by NASCAR. It is NASCAR’s “minor league,” and is the proving ground for drivers who wish to step up to the Sprint Cup Series. Nationwide Series races are frequently held in the same place as the Sprint Cup races scheduled for that weekend.

The series was previously called the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series. In December 2006, NASCAR officials confirmed that Busch Beer would not renew its sponsorship of NASCAR’s No. 2 series after the end of the 2007 Season. On October 3, 2007, it was announced Nationwide Insurance would become the title sponsor beginning with the 2008 season. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the most watched series in NASCAR. The series holds strong roots in the Southeastern United States with half of its 36-race season in that region.

The Daytona 500, its most prestigious race, had a television audience in the U.S. of about 16 million viewers in 2009. Previously, races have been held in Canada, and exhibition races were held in Japan and Australia. Sprint Cup Series cars are unique in automobile racing. The engines are powerful enough to reach speeds of over 200 mph (320 km/h), but heavy weight – coupled with a (relatively) simple aerodynamic package – makes for poor handling. Their bodies and chassis are strictly regulated to ensure parity or equality, and electronics are generally Spartan in nature.

The idea for the Truck Series dates back to 1993. A group of off-road racers (Dick Landfield, Jimmy Smith, Jim Venable, and Frank “Scoop” Vessels) wanted a bigger audience for truck racing. They made a prototype for a NASCAR-style pickup truck. These were first shown off during the 1994 Daytona 500, and four demonstration races were held during the season. The first event at Mesa Marin Raceway had six trucks. The other three events were held at Portland Speedway, Saugus Speedway, and Tucson Raceway Park. Tucson Raceway Park held four events that winter, which were nationally televised during the Winter Heat Series coverage. These trucks proved to be extremely popular, and it led to NASCAR creating the series, originally known as the “Super Truck Series” in 1995.

The rules of NASACAR changed a lot in the years since NASCAR started. The rules kept changing due to advancement in technology, which meant different rules for safety. Some of the rules today are that NASCAR allows bump drafting (helps drivers conserve gas) on restrictor plate tracks, no speeding on entrance or exit of pit road, and a driver that runs over a hose gets a penalty. NASCAR is against drug abuse due to a death from a former driver. In 2010 the drivers wanted everything back in their hands, like making the switch from the wing (like a spoiler but with sides), back to the spoiler (a back part of the cars). Drafting will help the driver gain speed and save gas. So if they’re trying to take the lead they want to wait till the last few laps, draft, then slingshot in front, and hold the lead. A rule that is often broke in NASCAR is speeding in pit road.

The cars have to slow down from nearly two-hundred miles per hour to sixty miles per hour if they need to pit. In years past, NASCAR would permit drivers to “race back to the caution flag.” This would allow drivers to race for position just after a crash has happened, but before they had crossed the start/finish line with the yellow flag waving. Drivers had developed an agreement to hold their position, and let slower cars gain lost laps rather than race. In many instances, lead drivers would use this practice to reward lapped cars for not interfering with them during race conditions. So in all, NASACAR’s rules changed a lot.

There is a lot of new technology in NASCAR that is being debated if it will be used in the races. Some things have already been put into/onto the cars to help improve as well as make a safer car. After ruling the roost since the Kennedy Administration, the Holley four-barrel carburetor is finally being put out to pasture as NASCAR’s fuel system of choice. The Sprint Cup Series is joining the computer age, and that means engine builders and tuners are trading in their wrenches and wet flow benches for laptops and software mapping.

Some people have commented on these changes such as Howard Comstock Crew chief. “In many ways, the engine will be much more efficient because we can give exactly the right amount of fuel to each cylinder that it needs.” Others, however, do not agree, such as Robin Pemberton NASCAR Official. “There’s a reason we’re doing all these tests, because until you get it on the track and in some sort of competitive type atmosphere, we won’t uncover any problems.”

That is why NASCAR is so popular and rapidly growing in fan population as well as the technological age of the cars. That is also what NASCAR is. You can decide if it’s a bunch of hicks driving in circle, or if it’s a professional sport that millions of people love and come to watch.

www.Daytonainternationalspeedway.com.web. August 23, 2008
www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.web. September 16, 2010
www.Ask.com.web. June 7, 1986
www.wikipedia.org.web. February 14, 2003

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