Chicago (USA), (EFE).- NASCAR (National Association of Series Car Racing), the queen of American speed races, celebrates this Tuesday the 75th anniversary of its first season.
It was December 1947 when car racing enthusiast Bill France Sr., who had been organizing races in Florida for almost twenty years, had the idea of opening a unique automobile association for production vehicles.
Two months later, in February 1948, NASCAR opened its first season with a race at Daytona, Florida. This Tuesday, the association celebrates its 75th birthday, still established as the most followed motor sport in the United States.
NASCAR celebrated its anniversary with a special video screened last Sunday at the 2023 season opener in Daytona, which summed up its story, which began on the Daytona beaches, in sixty seconds. The association now organizes, among its different categories, races in more than one hundred circuits in the country.
NASCAR, the first race
The first officially organized race for ‘stock cars’ was run in June 1949 at ‘Charlotte Fairgrounds Speedway’ in front of 13,000 spectators, with Jim Roper, aboard a Ford Lincoln, victorious after a 197-lap test.
Ten years later, the first edition of the iconic Daytona 500 would be held, with more than 41,000 fans present and with Lee Petty as the first winner.
The passion for motorsports had a vertical growth in the United States between the 50s and 60s and NASCAR extended the number of its races and appointments throughout the season.
The one in Jacksonville (Florida) in 1964 would go down in history for registering the first victory of an African-American driver in the national series. It was Wendell Scott, a mechanic and ex-serviceman who fought in World War II, to make history.
Rivalries like that between Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty lit up NASCAR throughout the 1970s, with the latter going on to win the seventh NASCAR Cup title in 1979, a record tied with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson.
The 85-year-old Petty, a native of Level Cross, North Carolina, remains in NASCAR history for his seven Daytona 500 victories and also holds the record for NASCAR Cup wins with 200.
The 1970s also marked the first fully televised race in the United States (CBS, Daytona 500 in 1979) and the debut of Janet Guthrie, in 1977, the first woman to compete at Daytona.
Also, in 2013, Danica Patrick would make history with the first pole position for a woman in the NASCAR series.
Three years later, Jimmy Johnson would match Petty and Earnhardt with three championship titles.
75 years after the first race in its history, NASCAR continues to grow and has a tremendous following from American motorsports fans.
He succeeds despite the notable growth in interest in Formula 1, which this year has three races in the United States, in Miami, Austin and Las Vegas.