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Do You Know The History of NASCAR?

historic early daytona stock car races were run on the beach at Daytona
In the 1930's, the first Daytona races were actually
run on the beach in front of crowds of fans.

Today one of the most popular spectactor sports in America, NASCAR began humbly enough in the 1930's with informal races held at popular venues around the country.

One of the first of these amateur races took place in - where else? - Daytona Beach, Florida (now the home of the storied Daytona 500) where "suped up" cars were put through their paces in front of crowds of onlookers.

The pasttime soon proved so popular that stock car racing eventually became an organized sport thanks to one particular trailblazer by the name of William 'Bill" France who originally founded NASCAR in 1948 to organize and promote racing on tracks.

At the time, several racetracks existed across the Southeast, each with their own rules and regulations. Through William France's steadfast vision, he delivered that much badly needed direction and professionalized a sport which, in its time, was considered just a weekend pastime!

Later, William France founded the International Speedway Corporation which gave NASCAR the Daytona International Speedway in 1959 and subsequently, the Talladega Superspeedway in 1969.

Upon William France's retirement, his two sons, Bill Jr. and Jim assumed control.

Today, millions of NASCAR race fans (NASCAR, the acronym stands for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) come in droves to see NASCAR racing events throughout the U.S. for the most heart pounding, exciting form of motorsports nationwide.

Did You Know?... NASCAR fun facts

Stock car racing's very earliest origins can be traced back to moonshiners and bootleggers who fitted their cars to outrun the law during Prohibition.

• Today, NASCAR is the second only to football as the most popular professional spectator sport in the U.S.

• The fastest track on the NASCAR circuit is Talladega Superspeedway with average speeds of 188 mph.

• On sharp turns, NASCAR drivers can experience 3 Gs of force against their bodies, comparable to the forces pressing down on shuttle astronauts at liftoff.

• Temperatures inside NASCAR race cars can exceed 100 degrees, reaching as much as 170 degrees near the floorboards.

More NASCAR history, trivia and fun facts around the Web:

The history of NASCAR
- For the real NASCAR fanatic, here's a great overview with photos and key milestones year by year

The five greatest fights in NASCAR history - For drivers, things can get a little emotional out there.

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