The somewhat difficult birth of what now is the world’s leading stock car racing organization began Dec. 14, 1947 not far from the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Promoter, mechanic and sometimes race car driver Bill France Sr. arranged a meeting of various men — and they were all men — involved at different levels of racing and from locations around the country. The idea, France told the group of about 35, was to form a national stock car racing organization to bring standards and consistency to the sport. He said there were too many different racing groups with different rules and regulations, each declaring that it named the “national champion.”
France wanted a big umbrella group.
And he wanted to be the one holding the umbrella.
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The meetings were held in the Ebony Bar atop the Streamline Hotel on South Atlantic Avenue. They stretched across four days and, by the time the final session was over, NASCAR was born. And France was chosen as president.
Why did the meetings take four days? Because they met in a bar, one of the participants explained.
“You were dealing with Yankees and Southerners and bootleggers,” said meeting participant Sam Packard, a driver and a France friend in an interview many years later. “But everybody went along pretty good with what needed to be done. We had been racing around the Carolinas and other places, and the promoters had been taking off with the money and leaving us stranded. But with this organization, the promoter had to put money in escrow before we ever ran. So you were sure to get paid.”
The organization was named the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, a suggestion by Atlanta garage owner and car and engine builder Louis “Red” Vogt.
NASCAR was incorporated in February 1948 and held its first race Feb. 15 on the beach-road course at Daytona Beach. The Strictly Stock (now Cup) series began in 1949.