Establishing NASCAR

Some people like it, some people hate it, some people do both, but one thing is certain: no one can ignore it (or its fans). Whether it drives you crazy or drives you crazy, NASCAR is here to stay. Those in the previous category (and there are loads), have one person to thank: the deceased, William the Great France, the Father.

As a mechanic, William France Sr. knew cars inside and out. From their engine to transmission, from their tailpipe to the pine tree air dangling in the rearview mirror, France had a natural talent for cars. He also had an idea: he believed people would enjoy watching car races. If he built it, they would come.

In 1935, France moved from Washington, DC to Daytona, Florida, hoping to find a job in a major depression-laden economy. With the news in the area and attempts at land speed record, France stepped in for the land speed event. In 1936, he finished fifth; In 1938 he took the position of course director.

Before his involvement, races represented a risk in more ways than one. Honest promoters usually sold their drivers for big dreams and wealth, just to take the money and run before the drivers were paid. This has led, in part, to France's belief that stock car racing needs some organization; It had to be an association with a rigid set of rules, setting schedules, regular championships and protecting everyone involved.

In December 1947, France summoned some of the well-known racers and promoters to propose its ideas. They met at a hotel on Daytona Beach and rumors that an outline of the "official" point system and laws was written on a napkin bar.

After only two months, NASCAR was officially established on February 21, 1948. From there it was, literally, a race.