Stock car racing is a sport that originated in the US. It was born in the days of Prohibition and by the late 1940s, it became a common entertainment. Today stock car racing is a popular sport that is governed by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Car Racing (NASCAR) that was formed in 1948.
Initially, the cars that competed in stock car racing weren’t altered from their original factory build. But the sports evolved with the advancement in technology.
How Did Prohibition Play Its Role In Stock Car Racing?
Prohibition officially began in the US in 1920 with the 18th Amendment banning the production and possession of alcohol. Drinking alcohol wasn’t illegal and many started making their own liquor called moonshine.
When prohibition was enacted, alcohol producers started transporting liquor in their own personal cars at night. They called themselves moon runners. They couldn’t outrun the police in the beginning and began modifying their vehicles to give their cars an advantage.
The runners would take ordinary cars and make slight alterations to them so that they can reach higher speeds. The cars still looked no different from other cars on the road but they could outrun the law enforcement vehicles.
The moon runners later started racing on the weekends and that is how stock car racing was born. The government ended prohibition in 1933 and by that time, stock racing had become very popular. Its growth continued for the next 15 years and by 1948 it became a widespread sport but performed in different styles in every region.
Role Of Auto Manufacturer’s In Stock Car Racing
NASCAR became very popular by the 1950s and auto manufacturers began involving in the sport more by offering “factory backing” to the drivers. In simple terms, this means they started paying drivers for driving their cars.
After an unfortunate accident in 1957, the automobile manufacturers stopped involving in the sport. It took five years for the manufacturers to return to NASCAR. In 1964, Chrysler introduced the 6980 cubic centimeters hemispherical engine referred to as “hemi”.
By the end of the 1960s, most auto manufacturers were producing the most powerful engines that could still be used legally for racing.
Now the drivers in stock car racing are reaching speeds up to 322 kilometers per hour and safety has emerged as a major concern. Certain speedways now have restrictor plates that slow the cars down. Auto manufacturers are continuing to work on the development of faster and safer cars.