The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was born after a December 1947 meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla., where Bill France Sr. sought to organize the growing sport. What grew from this summit of automotive leaders was a national phenomenon, now in its seventh decade of racing.
France's vision to bring stock car racing under one organization has seen the sport transition from the dusty, dirt tracks and sandy beaches of its earliest days to today's high-tech speedways and television coverage that broadens its reach to millions of fans. France helped facilitate that growth with the construction and 1959 debut of Daytona International Speedway, which hosts the sport's crown jewel race -- the Daytona 500 -- every February on its steep asphalt banks.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which was born as the "Strictly Stock" division in 1949, is now the premier motor sports circuit in North America. The sport has gone from racing the modified, pre-World War II coupes of bygone eras to competing with the brand-new sixth generation of stock car -- aggressively styled, purpose-built racers derived from road-going Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota sedans.
Three national series, four regional touring series, one local grassroots series and three international circuits race under the NASCAR banner, which also sanctions the GRAND-AM Road Racing series. The vivid history of the sport has a home in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which opened in 2010 in Charlotte, N.C.
The family business continues to thrive today under the leadership of grandson Brian Z. France, NASCAR chairman and CEO, and granddaughter Lesa France Kennedy, who serves on the NASCAR board of directors.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and in 20 languages. In the U.S., races are broadcast on FOX, TNT, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, SPEED, Motor Racing Network Radio, PRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. NASCAR fans are among the most brand-loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as three international series. Also part of NASCAR is GRAND-AM Road Racing, known for its competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., NASCAR has offices in eight cities across North America.