By Toby Christie, Editor — Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie

It’s here, everyone’s favorite week — Darlington Throwback — is here. We get to see an amazing race, but we also get to see colors, and designs that take us back to when we were younger. This year, a bunch of teams have stepped up their games and have brought amazing throwback paint schemes.

I have gone ahead and taken each scheme, and in the honor of throwback weekend, I made them into a replica trading card from the first-ever NASCAR collector set (1988 Maxx) which was released 30 years ago. Now, you get to see and read about each of the throwback paint schemes that will be on track during Sunday’s Bojangle’s Southern 500 at Darlington. Continue reading “Look: All 2018 Darlington Cup Series Throwback Paint Schemes”

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Apr. 12, 2014

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

DARLINGTON, S.C.—The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has been one of feast or famine for Kevin Harvick—and on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway, Harvick enjoyed the delectable taste of victory. Continue reading “Kevin Harvick wins Sprint Cup race at Darlington in overtime”

How does a racing sport go from dirt-oval battles between bootleggers and hot rodders to America’s largest and most popular racing series? The rise of NASCAR from its early roots in the Prohibition era to its current position as a multi-million dollar juggernaut with races watched by millions of Americans is a story that’s as suspenseful – and at times colorful – as the Talladega 500.

From Bootlegging to Oval Racing

The sport’s earliest days can be linked not to any race track, but to an activity from the Prohibition era – bootlegging. As Rick Hudson notes in an in-depth look at early NASCAR history, famous NASCAR drivers like Junior Johnson first cut their teeth dodging revenuers in sedans modified to haul as much moonshine as possible, as fast as possible. The sport also had plenty of roots on the sandy shores of Daytona Beach, where promoters like Sig Haugdahl held oval-track races on the firmly packed beach and tarmac.

Photo by Unknown via Wikimedia Commons

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) came about in December 1947, courtesy of Bill France, Sr., then an up-and-coming promoter who saw a need for an official sanctioning body. There had been plenty of early attempts to establish one as far back as the mid-1930s, but NASCAR would soon evolve into the dominate force in stock car racing.

Evolution of an Empire

NASCAR’s establishing formula initially consisted of strictly stock, street-legal family sedans on a series of oval courses, although that formula would also evolve. The newly minted organization held its first sanctioned race on the Daytona Beach road/beach course in February 1948, where Red Byron cinched the win after 150 hard-fought miles. Decades of Racing notes that by 1958, NASCAR sanctioned 24 out of 51 venues, including road races at Bridgehampton and Watkins Glen.

Photo of Red Byron’s car by Nascar1996 via Wikimedia Commons

Changes came to NASCAR in quick succession. Between 1949 and 1950, Harold Brasington built Darlington Raceway, the first of many banked-oval courses for the sport. August, 1959, signaled the end of the Daytona beach/road course and the beginning of the famous Daytona International Speedway. The sixties signaled the beginning of the infamous horsepower wars and, as an example of NASCAR’s marketing potential, the rise of high-horsepower “factory lightweights” such as the 427-equipped 1963 Ford Galaxy 500XL and the “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” mantra. The sixties were also the beginning of Richard Petty’s illustrious racing career, in which he won the NASCAR Championship seven times and a record 27 races in 1967 alone.

Photo of Richard Petty by Darryl W. Moran via Wikimedia Commons

The most significant modern change to NASCAR came in the form of the “Car of Tomorrow,” a technologically advanced chassis introduced for the 2012 season. Geared towards driver safety, the CoT chassis offered a vast number of changes – a higher, wider roll cage, double frame rails and the use of protective foam, for starters. It also signaled the definitive end of the stock car as a vehicle that could win races and sell in volume at dealer showrooms.

The Rise of a Merchandising Giant

NASCAR may be all about stock cars, but that hasn’t stopped a variety of companies from joining forces with the highly successful franchise. For instance, NASCAR and Harley-Davidson came together in 2008 to create the NASCAR 60th Anniversary Motorcycle Series. The custom-built run of 60 motorcycles were individually serialized and offered for sale to the public, according to Motorcyclist Online.

NASCAR and Harley-Davidson presented motorcycle #60 to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Petty, who auctioned the bike for charity during that year’s Coke Zero 400. This rare bike might be hard to get your hands on, but a fresh set of Dunlop D402 Harley-Davidson whitewall motorcycle tires at Bikebandit can help your Harley mimic the one-of-a-kind look of the 60th Anniversary Motorcycle.

Photo of Kyle Petty by APCEvents via Flickr

From t-shirts, hats and other official apparel to posters, die-cast cars and even commemorative versions of today’s most popular automobiles, the sanctioning body has amassed a merchandising empire with revenues of $645.4 million in 2010, according to figures from International Speedway Corporation.

SHOW #202 – Guest: Michael Casto – Jackman for the #14 Tony Stewart Office Depot Chevrolet, we recap Darlington, Hendrick Motorsports 200th victory, Kurt Busch antics, and preview All Star Weekend. Hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie.
(About 48 mins)

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Continue reading “The Final Lap Weekly #202 – Pit Crew Challenge / All Star Race”