NASCAR is a successful sports business responsible for organizing a multitude of racing sports all across the country. NASCAR racing is one of the most popular sports in the US, with a dedicated following across the country, and is the leader in stock car racing events. Despite having their headquarters in Florida, NASCAR’s reach is a national one, and there is even interest internationally as well.
Daytona Beach is the famed HQ for NASCAR racing, and the tournaments throughout the year make this a hugely lucrative sport in the US. NASCAR racing is televised internationally, and the tournaments attract thousands of fans every year. In fact, in terms of fans and television viewership, NASCAR comes second only to the NFL! So, let’s find out a little more about the origins of this highly successful sporting venture.
As many people know, NASCAR did not start off in the best of ways, and it actually has links to bootlegging in the Prohibition era! The story goes that there was a bunch of guys living in the South (NASCAR has a definitive Southern link), and they were struggling to make ends meet. So, to survive, they decide to get into the whiskey-making business – which, of course, was illegal. They would get the whiskey made up in the Appalachian mountain region, and then fill their cars with it. The cars would then travel to distribute the product, so the bootleggers needed something small, fast, and evasive.
Many of the drivers had to take winding mountain paths, driving at high speeds. It was high-risk, but also hugely addictive, and many of them loved the adrenalin rush it gave them. Business eventually started to dry up, though people in the South still had a taste for it. But, the love for small, fast cars hadn’t gone, and, by 1940, these cars were being modified and raced as a way of making money. This sort of “underground” racing was hugely popular throughout the Deep South and quickly spread to other areas of America too. This was the earliest and most primitive form of NASCAR racing, and very different from what we know today.
A legend is born
During this bootlegging era, there was one particular man known for running moonshine up and down the country. His name was Junior Johnson. And darn it all if he didn’t become one of the most popular NASCAR racers who ever lived. Nicknamed The Last American Hero, Johnson won 50 NASCAR races in his career, and, though he was never a champion, his legend endured. Since retirement, he has sponsored two different NASCAR champions, and released his own spirit called ‘Midnight Moon Moonshine.’
As you can see, the history of NASCAR came from some unexpected sources, but, in some ways, it has remained true to its Southern roots. The sport remains one of the most popular and entertaining in America, and it seems only a matter of time before the popularity spreads all across the world. Men like Junior Johnson were instrumental in helping make the sport what it is today and should be highly regarded as a result.