What does NASCAR stand for? All you need to know about USA's premier motorsport competition
NASCAR operates more than 1500 races in 39 states in the United States as well as in Canada. We explain categories, safety and key facts about the organisation.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is a family-owned business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sporting events. It is the foremost stock car racing competition in motorsport.
The stock car racing event comes second to only National Football League(NFL) among professional sports franchises in terms of television ratings in the United States. It sanctions over 1500 races at over 100 tracks in 39 states in the United States as well as in Canada.
Quick fact: NASCAR holds 17 of the top 20 regularly attended single-day sporting events in the world
Before the 1920s, France and Belgium were the locations where most world land speed records were being made. But from the early part of that decade, there was a dramatic change in the trend as 8 consecutive world land speed records were made at the Daytona Beach, Florida track between 1927 and 1935.
Major Henry Segrave and his Sunbeam 1000hp Mystery set one such record on the Daytona Beach Road Course, at 203.79 mph (327.97 km/h), peaking at a top speed of 211 mph.
NASCAR was founded by Willian France Sr on 21st February 1948 with the help of several other drivers and the most surprising fact is that the points system was written on the bar napkin for the first time.
NASCAR had its first ever ‘stictly stock’ race in the year 1949. Jim Roper was announced as the winner after Glenn Dunaway was disqualified for altering the rear spring of his car.
In the ‘stictly stock’ division, cars raced without any modifications on the factory manufactured car. Over time, however, some modifications were allowed, keeping the safety of the driver in mind.
Sprint Cup Series
The NASCAR Spring Cup Series is the leading racing series of NASCAR. It is named after its current sponsors, Sprint Corporation, and has been known by other names in the past. The drivers' champion is determined by a points system, where points are given according to finishing position and laps led.
The main attraction of this series is the ‘Chase for the Championship’.
The Sprint Cup is divided into 2 segments, after the first 26 races, 16 drivers are selected, primarily on the basis of wins during the first 26 races, are seeded based on their total number of wins and compete in the last 10 races with the difference in points greatly minimized. It is this second segment that is known as the ‘Chase for the Championships’.
The Daytona 500 is the most prestigious race in the series, and enjoyed a television audience of around 16 million in the year 2009.
The world record for most number of Sprint Cup Championships is tied between Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr, who won 7 championships each.
The Xfinity series is a stock car racing series owned and managed by NASCAR. This series is promoted as NASCAR’s minor league circuit and is used as a proving ground for racers looking to get selected for the Sprint Cup Series.
The races are held at the same venue as the Sprint Cup races, but a day prior so that fans can attend both events.
The body and aerodynamic package for these cars is different from Sprint Cup Series cars and each manufacturer uses a distinct body design, built within strict aerodynamic guidelines provided by NASCAR.
Camping World Truck Series
The NASCAR World Truck Series is a pickup truck racing series owned and operated by NASCAR and is the only series in all of NASCAR that uses modified production pickup trucks.
This series is one of the three national divisions of NASCAR, ranking as the third tier behind the top-level Sprint Cup Series and the second-tier Xfinity Series . In 2014, NASCAR banned bump drafting, a method of racing in which two vehicles would line up with each other to gain speed, from the Truck Series.
Although NASCAR focuses on safety features for both drivers and crew taking part in events, they tend to adapt to something new only after a major accident occurs or somebody is injured.
Only after the deaths of Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin and Tony Roper in 2000, and Dale Earnhardt in 2001 did NASCAR revisit the idea of decreasing the G-force that a driver sustained during a crash.
In the mid-2000s, NASCAR redesigned the racing vehicle with safety improvements, calling it the ‘ Car of Tomorrow’. The car has a higher roof, wider cockpit, and the driver seat was located more toward the center of the vehicle.