Any fan of NASCAR has heard at some point how the sport’s history is intrinsically linked to the Prohibition era and the bootleggers who thwarted the law in their efforts to deliver moonshine to a thirsty population.
As it turns out much of the intriguing myths that surround the origins of the sport are true. Runners, those who delivered the moonshine, which was a home-brewed whiskey that was distilled from all most anything that could be fermented, had to be faster than the federal agents who chased them.
This led to the need to continually innovate and retrofit cars to make them faster and more stable. Runners who achieved increasing success at outrunning and outsmarting the law began to build reputations. Leading to informal rallies and competition to determine who was the fastest driver.
During the 1940’s the informal rallies had become an organized sport with a large following. The first official NASCAR race was organized by former driver and runner, Big Bill France. Big Bill called together drivers, car owners and mechanics in Daytona Beach, Florida to officially establish the rules of the sport and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing in 1947 and two months later the first official race was held on the beach in Daytona.
The sport continued to gain popularity helped in part because the big named drivers that it produced. Today NASCAR is the largest spectator sport in the U.S. with events regularly drawing crowds over 100,000.