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Tag: NASCAR

June 7, 1992 – NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. died
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June 7, 1992 – NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. died

Bill France at Daytona Beach America’s prohibition era surely fueled the rise of NASCAR, but it took one man to make it official. Drivers who delivered illegal alcohol needed fast cars to outrun police, so they regularly tuned their vehicles for more power and better handling. Following prohibition, these drives still possessed a need for speed. They began to organize races, pitting their hopped up cars against each other, often in hopes of bringing home a cash prize. Daytona mechanic Bill France Sr., loved what the racing scene, but believed it could use more structure. With the assistance of a few partners, he developed a points system and race schedule for stock car racing. France soon began working with influential racers and race promoters to create a governing body for these r...
April 13, 1931 – American racing great Dan Gurney is born
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April 13, 1931 – American racing great Dan Gurney is born

On this day in 1931 American race car driver Daniel Sexton Gurney was born in Port Jefferson, New York. Gurney would move to California as a teenager, quickly getting caught up in the hot rod culture that had taken the state by storm. By 1958 he would be on the fast track to the racing hall of fame. Gurney competed quite successfully in multiple disciplines of auto racing. He took home first place trophies in Sports Cars in 1958, Formula One in 1962, NASCAR in 1963, and Indy Car in 1967. He was the first of only three drivers to accomplish such a feat. Gurney is also credited with a few other important racing traditions and inventing some critical components. After taking home the gold at the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans with A.J. Foyt, he sprayed champagne from the podium, starting a...
March 25, 1982 – Danica Patrick is born
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March 25, 1982 – Danica Patrick is born

By Zach Catanzareti. Danica Patrick, one of the most successful woman in automotive racing, was born on this day in 1982. Patrick got her start in racing at age 10 after getting behind the wheel of a competition go-kart. She has since raced in numerous circuits, including Indy, starting in 2005, and top tier NASCAR beginning in 2013. A prominent highlight of her career is a win at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. This represents the only female win in the IndyCar Series. Patrick is also the only woman to win the pole position for a NASCAR race, which she did for the 2013 Daytona 500. Check out the video below featuring a selection of highlights from her racing career: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixEu3c02x5A
March 24, 1970 – Buddy Baker breaks 200 MPH barrier on closed circuit
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March 24, 1970 – Buddy Baker breaks 200 MPH barrier on closed circuit

Buddy Baker arrived at Alabama International Motor Speedway on this day in 1970 after a morning of skeet shooting. He wasn't there to race, however. Chrysler tapped him for testing as part of the ongoing Daytona program from Dodge. However, engineers knew that Baker would likely break the 200 mph closed circuit speed barrier during his runs that day, as it had been nearly snapped in recent attempts. To ensure any records went down in the official history books, chief NASCAR timer and scorer Joe Epton brought his timing equipment to Talladega to track Baker. Despite heavy rains the night before, the track dried up by mid afternoon, allowing the testing to move forward. Baker was glad, as he was ready to head to the fishing hole after waiting around all day. With Epton's tools ready...
March 21,1920- NASCAR pioneer Fonty Flock is born
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March 21,1920- NASCAR pioneer Fonty Flock is born

1950 Truman Fontello “Fonty” Flock, brother of NASCAR pioneers Tim Flock, Bob Flock, and the second female NASCAR driver Ethel Mobley, was born on this day in 1920. Fonty fell in line with his siblings, becoming an early great on the young racing circuit. Flock and his siblings grew up in Alabama and like many early NASCAR counterparts, developed racing skills while delivering moonshine. "I used to deliberately seek out the sheriff and get him to chase me," he later recalled. His career on the track started in 1940 at a 100 mile race in Atlanta. Before long, the entire the flock of Flocks were making a name for themselves. The siblings all raced each other on July 19, 1949 at Daytona Beach Road Course. This was the first NASCAR race to feature a brother and a sister and the only...
March 14, 1914 – NASCAR great Lee Petty is born
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March 14, 1914 – NASCAR great Lee Petty is born

The patriarch of the Petty racing family, Lee Arnold Petty, was born on this day in 1914. Petty got a late start in racing, first taking the wheel in professional competition at age 35. Soon after getting a taste for the dirt, he participated in the first sanctioned NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His beginnings did not foreshadow the success he would find on the track. During that race on June 14, 1949, Petty drove a 1948 Buick Roadmaster that he borrowed from his neighbor. He informed the neighbor that the prize money he'd earn would cover any damages the car may incur during the race. Petty rolled the car. Petty rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s as one of NASCAR’s early superstars, even winning the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. During his NASCAR career he would rack ...
March 7, 1938 – Janet Guthrie, first woman to race in top tier NASCAR and Indy 500, is born
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March 7, 1938 – Janet Guthrie, first woman to race in top tier NASCAR and Indy 500, is born

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Janet Guthrie #68 stands in front of her car before the 1977 Winston Cup Daytona 500 on February 20, 1977 at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by ISC Archives via Getty Images) Janet Guthrie, born on this day in 1938 in Iowa City, Iowa, raced her way into the history books when she became the first woman to compete in a top tier NASCAR Winston Cup race, finishing in 15th place at the 1976 World 600.  Above: Janet Guthrie After graduating from the University of Michigan, Guthrie began a career as an aerospace engineer but after racing a Jaguar XK 140 in 1963, she foresaw a professional shift. A decade later racing became her full time job. Along with becoming the first woman to race at the highest levels of NASC...
February 22, 1970 – Plymouth Superbird gets first NASCAR win at Daytona 500
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February 22, 1970 – Plymouth Superbird gets first NASCAR win at Daytona 500

Some say the modern era of NASCAR began with the running of the 1970 Daytona 500. By that point, race cars were far less stock than their predecessors as automakers specially designed them for the track. Of course, street legal versions turned up at dealers, as a limited quantity must roll off the assembly lines to qualify for the series. It was one of those limited run cars, an aerodynamic Plymouth Superbird, that chalked its first win at the Daytona 500 ran on this day in 1970. The number 40 car, driven by Pete Hamilton for Petty Enterprises, crossed the finish line three car lengths ahead of David Pearson. An easy win it was not. Nearly 105,000 fans watched the 200 minute race that featured 24 lead changes. Almost a quarter of the race ran under the caution flag, mostly due to b...
February 21, 1948 – NASCAR is founded
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February 21, 1948 – NASCAR is founded

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 15, 1948: The first NASCAR-sanctioned race was held on Daytona Beach in 1948 for modified-sportsman cars. (Photo by ISC Archives via Getty Images) NASCAR's roots can be traced to bootleggers and moonshine runners during America’s prohibition era. Drivers who delivered illegal alcohol needed fast cars to outrun police, so they'd tune their vehicles for better power and handling. Following prohibition, these drives continued to possess a need for speed. They organized races so they could put their hopped up cars to the test. In many cases in hopes of bringing home a cash prize.  Bill France on the sands of Daytona Beach. TOP: DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 15, 1948: The first NASCAR-sanctioned race was held on Daytona Beach in 1948 for modified-sportsman ...
February 18, 2001 – Dale Earnhardt Sr. dies at Daytona
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February 18, 2001 – Dale Earnhardt Sr. dies at Daytona

NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in an accident on the final lap of the Daytona 500 on this day in 2001. A three car accident sent Earnhardt’s #3 car into the outside wall head on. An autopsy revealed he had died instantly of blunt force trauma. The crash resulted in NASCAR mandating numerous measures to improve driver safety. Earnhardt in the No. 3 car by Darryl Moran. CC BY-SA 2.0. Cover photo by James Phelps - Flickr, CC BY 2.0 Earnhardt’s career in NASCAR began in 1975 at the World 600. During his time on the track he racked up 76 Cup Series wins and seven NASCAR Cup Championships, a feat only Richard Petty had accomplished previously and would not be done again until Jimmie Johnson won his seventh in 2016.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o7Huvi8JAA

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