NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock-car racing.[1] Its three largest or National series are the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Regional series include the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, the Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Pinty's Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, and NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series. NASCAR sanctions over 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 48 US states as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Europe. NASCAR has presented races at the Suzuka and Motegi circuits in Japan, and the Calder Park Thunderdome in Australia.[2] NASCAR also ventures into eSports via the PEAK Antifreeze NASCAR iRacing Series and a sanctioned ladder system on that title.

The privately owned company was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1948,[3] and Jim France has been CEO since August 6, 2018.[4] The company's headquarters is in Daytona Beach, Florida.[5] Internationally, its races are broadcast on television in over 150 countries.[6]

National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.
NASCAR logo 2017
SportAuto racing
CategoryStock car racing
Sports car racing (IMSA)
AbbreviationNASCAR
FoundedFebruary 21, 1948
AffiliationACCUS-FIA
HeadquartersDaytona Beach, Florida, U.S. (main)
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
PresidentSteve Phelps
ChairmanJim France (acting)
ChairpersonMike Helton (Vice chairman)
Chief ExecJim France (acting)
Other key staff
  • Steve O'Donnell (CRDO)
  • Jill Gregory (CMO)
  • Gary Crotty (CLO)
  • Ed Bennett (CAO)
  • R. Todd Wilson (CFO)
Official website
www.nascar.com

History

Early stock car racing

JuniorJohnson1985
1985 photo of Junior Johnson, 1950s NASCAR driver who began as a bootlegging driver from Wilkes County, North Carolina

In the 1920s and 30s, Daytona Beach became known as the place to set world land speed records, supplanting France and Belgium as the preferred location for land speed records, with 8 consecutive world records set between 1927 and 1935.[7][8] After a historic race between Ransom Olds and Alexander Winton in 1903, the beach became a mecca for racing enthusiasts and 15 records were set on what became the Daytona Beach Road Course between 1905 and 1935. By the time the Bonneville Salt Flats became the premier location for pursuit of land speed records, Daytona Beach had become synonymous with fast cars in 1936.[9] Drivers raced on a 4.1-mile (6.6 km) course, consisting of a 1.5–2.0-mile (2.4–3.2 km) stretch of beach as one straightaway, and a narrow blacktop beachfront highway, State Road A1A, as the other. The two straights were connected by two tight, deeply rutted and sand covered turns at each end.[10]

Stock car racing in the United States has its origins in bootlegging during Prohibition, when drivers ran bootleg whiskey made primarily in the Appalachian region of the United States. Bootleggers needed to distribute their illicit products, and they typically used small, fast vehicles to better evade the police. Many of the drivers would modify their cars for speed and handling, as well as increased cargo capacity, and some of them came to love the fast-paced driving down twisty mountain roads.

The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 dried up some of their business, but by then Southerners had developed a taste for moonshine, and a number of the drivers continued "runnin' shine", this time evading the "revenuers" who were attempting to tax their operations.[1] The cars continued to improve, and by the late 1940s, races featuring these cars were being run for pride and profit. These races were popular entertainment in the rural Southern United States, and they are most closely associated with the Wilkes County region of North Carolina. Most races in those days were of modified cars. Street vehicles were lightened and reinforced.[11]

Significant people

William France Sr.

Mechanic William France Sr., moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, from Washington, D.C., in 1935 to escape the Great Depression. He was familiar with the history of the area from the land speed record attempts. France entered the 1936 Daytona event, finishing fifth. He took over running the course in 1938. He promoted a few races before World War II.

France had the notion that people would enjoy watching "stock cars" race. Drivers were frequently victimized by unscrupulous promoters who would leave events with all the money before drivers were paid. In 1947, he decided this racing would not grow without a formal sanctioning organization, standardized rules, regular schedule, and an organized championship. On December 14, 1947, France began talks with other influential racers and promoters at the Ebony Bar at the Streamline Hotel at Daytona Beach, Florida, that ended with the formation of NASCAR on February 21, 1948.[12]

Erwin "Cannonball" Baker

The first Commissioner of NASCAR was Erwin "Cannonball" Baker. A former stock car, motorcycle, and open-wheel racer who competed in the Indianapolis 500 and set over one hundred land speed records. Baker earned most of his fame for his transcontinental speed runs and would prove a car's worth by driving it from New York to Los Angeles. After his death, the famous transcontinental race the 'Cannonball Run' and the film that was inspired by it were both named in his honor. Baker is enshrined in the Automotive Hall of Fame, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. This level of honor and success in each diverse racing association earned Baker the title of "King of the Road".[13]

Bob "Barky" Barkhimer

In the early 1950s, the United States Navy stationed Bill France Jr., at the Moffett Federal Airfield in northern California. His father asked him to look up Bob Barkhimer in San Jose, California. Barkhimer was a star of midget car racing from the World War II era, and later ran about 22 different speedways as the head of the California Stock Car Racing Association. Young Bill developed a relationship with Bob Barkhimer and his partner, Margo Burke. He went to events with them, stayed weekends with them and generally became very familiar with racing on the west coast. "Barky", as he was called by his friends, journeyed to Daytona Beach and met with Bill France Sr. In the spring of 1954, NASCAR became a stock car sanctioning body on the Pacific Coast under Barky.

Wendell Scott

Wendell Scott was the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National Series (now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series), NASCAR's highest level. He was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., January 30, 2015.[14]

NASCAR
Logo used from 1976 to 2016. It is still used on the logo of the Whelen All-American Series.

Founding

On March 8, 1936, a collection of drivers gathered at Daytona Beach, Florida. The drivers brought coupes, hardtops, convertibles, and sports cars to compete in an event to determine the fastest cars, and best drivers. Throughout the race, the heavier cars got bogged down in the sand, while the lightweight Fords navigated the ruts of the course, eventually claiming the top 6 finishes for the race. Of the 27 cars that started the event, only 10 managed to survive the ordeal, as officials halted the event 10 miles short of the scheduled 250-mile distance. Driver Milt Marion was declared the winner, and a young Bill France placed 5th at the end of the day.[15]

By early 1947, Bill France saw the potential for a unified series of racing competitors. France announced the foundation of the "National Championship Stock Car Circuit", otherwise known as NCSCC.[16] France approached the American Automobile Association, or AAA, in hopes of obtaining financial backing for the venture. When the AAA declined support of the venture, France proceeded to announce a set of rules and awards for the NCSCC. France declared that the winner of the 1947 NCSCC season would receive $1000.00 and a trophy. The season would begin in January 1947 at the Daytona Beach track, and conclude in Jacksonville the following December. Nearly 40 events were logged during the season, and attendance often exceeded the venue's capacity. The competitors were paid as promised, and by the end of the season, driver Fonty Flock was declared the season champion after winning 7 events of the 24 that he entered. Bill France delivered the $1000 and 4-foot high trophy to Flock at the end of the season, along with $3000 in prize money to other drivers who competed throughout the season.[17]

Streamline Hotel July 2018
The Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, where NASCAR was founded

At the end of the 1947 season, Bill France announced that there would be a series of meetings held at the Streamline Hotel in Florida, beginning on December 14, 1947. At 1:00 pm, France called to order the 35 men who represented the NCSCC on the top floor of the hotel. The meeting was the first of four seminars in which France would outline his vision of an organized group of race car drivers.[18] The name originally chosen for the series was National Stock Car Racing Association; when it was pointed out that that name was already in use by a rival sanctioning body, "National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing", proposed by mechanic Red Vogt, was selected as the organization's name.[19]

NASCAR was founded by William France, Sr. on February 21, 1948 with the help of several other drivers of the time.[3] The points system was written on a bar room napkin. The original plans for NASCAR included three distinct divisions: Modified, Roadster, and Strictly Stock. The Modified and Roadster classes were seen as more attractive to fans. It turned out that NASCAR fans wanted nothing to do with the roadsters, which fans perceived as a Northeast or Midwest series. The roadster division was quickly abandoned, while the modified division now operates as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The Strictly Stock division was put on hold as American automobile manufacturers were unable to produce family sedans quickly enough to keep up with post-World War II demand.[20] The 1948 schedule featured 52 Modified dirt track races. The sanctioning body hosted its first event at Daytona Beach on February 15, 1948. Red Byron beat Marshall Teague in the Modified division race. Byron won the 1948 national championship. Things had changed dramatically by 1949, and the Strictly Stock division was able to debut with a 20-mile (32 km) exhibition in February near Miami.

The first NASCAR "Strictly Stock" race ever was held at Charlotte Speedway, although this is not the same track as the Charlotte Motor Speedway that is a fixture on current NASCAR schedule. The race was held on June 19, 1949 and won by driver Jim Roper when Glenn Dunaway was disqualified after the discovery of his altered rear springs. Initially, the cars were known as the "Strictly Stock Division" and raced with virtually no modifications on the factory models. This division was renamed the "Grand National" division beginning in the 1950 season. Over a period of more than a decade, modifications for both safety and performance were allowed, and by the mid-1960s, the vehicles were purpose-built race cars with a stock-appearing body.

RichardPettyRoadrunner
Richard Petty's 1970 426 C.I. Plymouth Superbird on display.

Early in NASCAR's history, foreign manufacturers had shown interest in entering the series; the British car manufacturer, MG, found a few of its vehicles entered, with some placing. For example, in August 16, 1963 in the International 200, Smokey Cook drove an MG to a 17th-place finish.[21][22]

The first NASCAR competition held outside of the U.S. was in Canada, where on July 1, 1952, Buddy Shuman won a 200-lap race on a half-mile (800 m) dirt track in Stamford Park, Ontario, near Niagara Falls.

Sanctioned series

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Green flag at Daytona
The start of the 2015 Daytona 500.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) is the sport's highest level of professional competition. It is consequently the most popular and most profitable NASCAR series. Since 2001, the Cup Series season has consisted of 36 races over 10 months. Writers and fans often use "Cup" to refer to the MENCS and the ambiguous use of "NASCAR" as a synonym for the series is common. The 2018 MENCS Champion is Joey Logano. The record for most championships is 7, held by three drivers: Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jimmie Johnson. Johnson has the record for most consecutive with five consecutive Cup Series drivers' championships from 2006 to 2010. Previously, the most consecutive championships had been three in a row by Cale Yarborough in the late 1970s, the only other time when a driver has won three or more NASCAR Cup Series championships in a row.

The Cup Series had its first title sponsor in 1972. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which had been banned from television advertising, found a popular and demographically suitable consumer base in NASCAR fans and engaged NASCAR as a promotional outlet. As a result of that sponsorship, the Grand National Series became known as the Winston Cup Series starting in 1971,[23] with a new points system and some significant cash benefits to compete for championship points. In 1972, the season was shortened from 48 races (including two on dirt tracks) to 31.[23] 1972 is often acknowledged as the beginning of NASCAR's "modern era". The next competitive level, called Late Model Sportsman, gained the "Grand National" title passed down from the top division and soon found a sponsor in Busch Beer.

Dale Earnhardt Jr and team in the winners circle photo D Ramey Logan
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (bottom), and team in victory lane in 2004

In 2004, Nextel Communications took over sponsorship of the premier series from R. J. Reynolds, who had sponsored it as the Winston Cup from 1972 until 2003, and formally renamed it the Nextel Cup Series. A new championship points system, the "Chase for the Nextel Cup," (renamed "Chase for the Sprint Cup" in 2008) was also developed, which reset the point standings with ten races to go, making only drivers in the top ten or within 400 points of the leader eligible to win the championship. In 2007, NASCAR announced it was expanding "The Chase" from ten to twelve drivers, eliminating the 400-point cutoff, and giving a ten-point bonus to the top twelve drivers for each of the races they have won out of the first 26. Wins throughout the season would also be awarded five more points than in previous seasons. In 2008, the premier series title name became the Sprint Cup Series, as part of the merger between Nextel and Sprint.

In 2011, NASCAR announced a number of major rules changes, the most significant being abandoning the points system from the 1947 bar napkin. The winner of a race now receives 43 points, with one-point decrements for each subsequent position (42 for second, 41 for third, and so on). The winner also receives 3 bonus points, and single bonus points are awarded to all drivers who lead a lap, plus the driver who leads the most laps. Another significant change involves the qualifying process for the Chase. The number of qualifying drivers will remain at 12, but only the top 10 will qualify solely on regular-season points. The remaining two Chase drivers will be the two drivers in the next 10 of the point standings (11th through 20th) with the most race wins in the regular season.

In 2014, NASCAR announced another revamp to the Chase format, expanding the Chase pool to 16 drivers, and eliminating four drivers after every three races, leaving four drivers to compete for the championship at the season finale at Homestead. In addition, wins were given an increased emphasis, with the 16 drivers with the most wins (15 if the points leader is winless; points leader will receive an automatic berth) gaining a spot in the chase. If there are less than 16 winners, the remaining spots will be filled based on the conventional points system.[24]

Monster Energy became the title sponsor in 2017, which changed the series' name to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.[25] With Monster Energy's title sponsorship, NASCAR also abandoned "The Chase" name and now refers to the last 10 races simply as "the playoffs" similar to most other sports.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

BuschSeriesFieldAtTexasApril2007
The Busch Series field following the pace car at the O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in 2007.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is the second-highest level of professional competition in NASCAR. The most recent series champion is Tyler Reddick in 2018.

The modern incarnation of this series began in 1982, with sponsorship by Anheuser-Busch Brewing's Budweiser brand. In 1984 it was renamed to the Busch Grand National Series, then later just the Busch Series. The Anheuser-Busch sponsorship expired at the end of 2007, being replaced by Nationwide Insurance from 2008 to 2014, and the series is now sponsored by Comcast through its Xfinity brand.[26]

Road America 2011 Nationwide Final Spin
The Nationwide Series at Road America in 2011, using the Car of Tomorrow design.

The season is usually a few races shorter than that of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and the prize money is significantly lower. However, over the last several years, a number of Cup Series drivers have run both the Xfinity and Cup Series events each weekend, using the Xfinity race as a warm-up to the Cup event at the same facility. Furthermore, several drivers not only participated in both Cup and Busch/Nationwide/Xfinity events in the same weekend but also began to compete in both series on a full-time basis. Kevin Harvick was the first Cup series driver to compete full-time in the Busch Series and win a title, actually doing so twice; in 2001, he did this for Richard Childress Racing but only did so out of necessity as Dale Earnhardt's death forced him into the Cup series ahead of RCR's intended schedule for him. His win in 2006, where he raced three separate cars for RCR and his own race team, was the first of five consecutive titles in NBS/NNS that were won by Cup series regulars.

The practice received criticism because it was thought to give the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams an unfair advantage, and that the presence of the Cup Series drivers squeezes out Nationwide Series competitors who would otherwise be able to qualify. These dual-series drivers have been labeled "Buschwhackers", a play on words which combines the original series sponsor's name with the notion of being bushwhacked. In May 2007, NNS director Joe Balash confirmed that NASCAR was exploring options to deal with the Buschwhacker controversy. One of the most often-cited proposals was for Cup Series drivers participating in the Nationwide Series to receive no points for their participation in a Nationwide race. In 2007, NASCAR chairman Brian France indicated that all options, except an outright ban of Cup competitors, were still being considered.[27] On January 11, 2011, NASCAR.com reported that beginning with the 2011 season, drivers would be allowed to compete for the championship in only one of NASCAR's three national series in a given season, although they could continue to run in multiple series.[28] This change was officially confirmed by France in a press conference less than two weeks later, and has remained in the NASCAR rules ever since.[29]

Beginning in 2010, the Nationwide cars adapted somewhat to the current "Car of Tomorrow" (or COT) design used by Cup cars, with different bodies from the Cup Series.

In 2016, the Chase format was extended to both the Xfinity and Truck Series. Instead of the four-round, 10-race format used in the Cup Series, the Chase in each of the two supporting series consists of three rounds and seven races in all, with each preliminary round consisting of three races. The Xfinity Series Chase involves 12 drivers instead of the 16 participating in the Cup Series Chase. Four drivers are eliminated at the end of each preliminary round of the Chase in the Xfinity Series, which also mirrors the Cup Series Chase. This means that four drivers are eligible for the series title entering the final race, as in the Cup Series.[30] Similar to Cup, starting in 2017 "The Chase" moniker was dropped and the final seven races are now referred to as the Xfinity Playoffs.

Even with restrictions limiting points earnings to one national series, Cup drivers were still running and winning a vast majority of Xfinity series races through 2015. Starting with the 2015 season finale, NASCAR began to add additional restrictions in regards to Cup drivers running Xfinity races. Starting in 2019, Cup drivers with more than 5 years of experience in the Cup series will be limited to 7 Xfinity races per season. Further, Cup playoff qualifiers from the previous season are not allowed to compete in some Xfinity races and there will be restrictions on owner point earning by Cup drivers.[31]

Gander Outdoors Truck Series

MikeSkinnerBattlingToddBodine
Mike Skinner racing Todd Bodine in the Texas Craftsman Truck Series race.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series features modified pickup trucks. It is one of the three national divisions of NASCAR, together with the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The most recent series champion is Brett Moffitt in 2018; it was Moffitt's first championship in the series.

In 1994, NASCAR announced the formation of the NASCAR SuperTruck Series presented by Craftsman. The first series race followed in 1995. In 1996, the series was renamed the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to emphasize Craftsman's involvement. The series was first considered something of an oddity or a "senior tour" for NASCAR drivers, but eventually grew in popularity and has seen drivers move straight to the Cup Series without running a full season in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition. These include Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards (who both ran for Roush Racing). In addition, veteran drivers who have had only moderate success at the other two levels of the sport have revitalized their careers in the truck series, including Ron Hornaday Jr., Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner, and Johnny Benson.

Beginning in 2009, the series became the Camping World Truck Series.[32] In 2019, per a branding request made by Camping World, the series will be rebranded as the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.[33]

As noted previously, the Chase format was extended to the Truck Series in 2016. The format is identical to that used in the Xfinity Series, except that only eight drivers qualify for the Chase (instead of 12 in the Xfinity Series) and only two drivers are eliminated at the end of each preliminary round (instead of four in the Xfinity Series). As in both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series, four drivers are eligible for the series title entering the final race.[30] Similar to Cup, starting in 2017 "The Chase" moniker was dropped and is now simply referred to as the Truck Series Playoffs.

On May 8, 2018, NASCAR and Camping World announced the Truck Series title sponsor would be moved to Camping World subsidiary Gander Outdoors starting in 2019. The contract through 2022 is scheduled to continue as planned.[34]

ARCA Racing Series

The ARCA Racing Series is a racing series that races at big touring series tracks and local racing series tracks. It's primarily a Mid-Western United States Racing Series. NASCAR acquired the series on April 27, 2018 after being privately owned for 60 years.

Pinty's Series

Nascar Canadian Tire Series Chaudiere
NASCAR Pinty's Series cars at Autodrome Chaudiere in 2015

The NASCAR Pinty's Series is a NASCAR racing series in Canada that derives from the old CASCAR Super Series (founded in 1981 and bought out by NASCAR in 2006). The new series has races through six of Canada's provinces for a total of 13 events with TV coverage on TSN. Many drivers are content running in Canada while others move up to bigger NASCAR series including J. R. Fitzpatrick and D. J. Kennington. The cars are a bit different from the cars seen in America, being more akin to a late model, though steel tube-framed silhouette bodies powered by V8 engines is still the norm.

PEAK Mexico Series

In December 2006, NASCAR also announced the creation of a new series in Mexico, the NASCAR Corona Series (now PEAK Mexico Series), replacing the existing Desafío Corona Series, to begin in 2007.[35]

In 2004, NASCAR also began to sanction a mini stock racing series in Mexico, known as the Mexico T4 Series.

Whelen Euro Series

In early 2012, NASCAR announced that it would sanction the existing European-based Racecar Euro Series as a "NASCAR Touring Series".[36] On July 1, 2013, with partnership from NASCAR Whelen Engineering, the series was renamed the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.[37]

Regional racing series

In addition to the six main national series, NASCAR operates several other racing divisions.[38][39]

Whelen All-American Series

Many local race tracks across the United States and Canada run under the Whelen All-American Series banner, where local drivers are compared against each other in a formula where the best local track champion of the nation wins the Whelen All-American Weekly Series National Championship. The Whelen All-American series is split into four car divisions as well as state and track championships separately. Each division champion receives a point-fund money payout and even more goes to the National champion (driver with most points out of the four division winners). The Whelen All-American Series is the base for stock car racing, developing NASCAR names such as Clint Bowyer, Jimmy Spencer, Tony Stewart, the Bodine brothers, and many others along the way.[40]

Whelen Modified Tour

The Whelen Modified Tour races open-wheel "modified" cars in Northern and Southern divisions. This is NASCAR's oldest division, and the modern division has been operating since 1985 as the Winston Modified Series and later in 1994 as the Featherlite Trailers Modified Series.

K&N Pro Series

The K&N Pro Series, which consists of East and West divisions, race pro-stock cars that are similar to older Nationwide Series cars, although they are less powerful. The east division was originally divided into the Busch North series, which raced in Northeastern states, and the Busch East Series, which raced throughout Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. The west division was originally known as the Winston West Series and raced throughout Southwestern and Coastal Pacific states. In 2008, the series came together in east and west divisions under sponsorship from Camping World as the Camping World Series. K&N Filters took over the sponsorship in 2010.

AutoZone Elite and other divisions

In the past, NASCAR also sanctioned the AutoZone Elite Division, which raced late-model cars that were lighter and less powerful than Cup Series cars, and was originally split into four divisions: Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest. At the end of 2005, NASCAR announced that the AutoZone Elite Division would be discontinued after the 2006 season due to having trouble securing NASCAR-sanctioned tracks to successfully host AutoZone Elite Division events, plus escalating costs of competing and downsizing of the Division in recent years. In 2003, NASCAR standardized rules for its AutoZone Elite and Grand National divisions regional touring series as to permit cars in one series to race against cars in another series in the same division. The top 15 (Grand National) or 10 (AutoZone Elite) in each series will race in a one-race playoff, called the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, to determine the annual AutoZone Elite and Grand National champions. This event has been hosted at Irwindale Speedway in California since its inception.

Many drivers move up through the series before reaching the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. In 2002, over 9,000 drivers had licenses from NASCAR to race at all levels.

The winners of the All-American Series National Championship, the K&N Pro Series East and West championships, the two Whelen Modified and Grand National Divisions, and the three national series are invited to Las Vegas in December to participate in Champions Week ceremonies.

NASCAR iRacing.com Series

In 2010, NASCAR officially sanctioned its first sim racing eSports series, partnering with iRacing to form the NASCAR iRacing.com Series. This sim racing series is made of up of five "Amateur Series" divisions, the NASCAR iRacing.com Pro Series, and the PEAK Antifreeze NASCAR iRacing Series (NPAiS), one of iRacing's World Championship Series. Each year, the champion of the NASCAR iRacing.com World Championship Series is invited to NASCAR's Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway to receive $10,500 prize money and NASCAR championship trophy at the track.

In 2018, iRacing announced a new, sanctioned qualifying ladder system for the NPAiS, the Road to Pro Series, using virtual Chevrolet and Toyota Camping World Trucks. At the same time, the NASCAR iRacing Pro Series would switch to using the Xfinity Series Camaro, Mustang and Camry models, in order to replicate the progression to the real life Cup series cars used in the NPAiS.[41]

Driver safety

Although NASCAR frequently publicizes the safety measures it mandates for drivers, these features have historically only been adopted long after they were initially developed, and only in response to an injury or fatality. The impact-absorbing "SAFER Barrier" that is now in use had been proposed by legendary mechanic Smokey Yunick during the 1970s, but his idea had been dismissed as too expensive and unnecessary. 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-forces a driver sustained during a crash. Other examples of available safety features that were slow to be implemented include the mandating of a throttle "kill switch". The "kill switch" was mandated after the death of Adam Petty, along with the requirements of an anti-spill bladder in fuel cells. Fire-retardant driver suits were required only after the death of Fireball Roberts, who died from complications of burns suffered in a crash when flames engulfed his car during a Charlotte race.[42] Dale Earnhardt was killed after he received massive head and neck trauma from a hard crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt's death prompted NASCAR to require all drivers to use the "HANS device" (Head And Neck Support Device), a device that keeps the driver's neck from going forward in a wreck. 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.

The Death of Dale Earnhardt has been seen as a "wake-up" call for NASCAR, similar to how the Death of Ayrton Senna was a "wake-up" call to Formula 1. NASCAR has been far more aggressive with safety changes since Earnhardt's death.

Criticism

NASCAR has been the target of criticism on various topics from various sources. Some critics note the significant differences between today's NASCAR vehicles and true "stock" cars.[43] Others frequently cite the dominance of the France family in NASCAR's business structure, policies, and decision making. Recently, the increased number of Cup drivers competing consistently in the Xfinity Series races has been hotly debated. Another general area of criticism, not only of NASCAR but other motorsports as well, includes questions about fuel consumption,[44] emissions and pollution, and the use of lead additives in the gasoline. Originally scheduled for 2008, NASCAR adopted the use of unleaded fuel in all three of its top series in 2007.[45] In 2011, NASCAR switched to E15 "green" fuel (15% ethanol and 85% gasoline) for all three touring series.[46] As NASCAR has made moves to improve its national appeal, it has begun racing at new tracks, and ceased racing at some traditional ones – a sore spot for the traditional fan base. Most recently, NASCAR has been challenged on the types and frequency of caution flags, with some critics[47][48][49] suggesting the outcome of races is being manipulated, and that the intention is not safety, as NASCAR claims, but closer racing. There have been a few accidents involving fans during races and even some off the tracks, but no spectator has ever been killed during a race in an accident relating to the race,[50][51][52] although a fan was killed by a lightning strike in 2012 after the 2012 Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono was called short due to the storm.[53] It was revealed in 2008 that a wrongful death lawsuit against NASCAR stemming from the crash of a company plane was settled for $2.4 million.[54][55]

Global expansion

In 2006, Toyota announced they would be joining NASCAR's ranks.[56] Toyota generated early success winning several races off performances from Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.[57] Other foreign manufactures are looking to jump in the mix of NASCAR. Honda is speculated to be interested in joining the NASCAR ranks in the near future.[56] The increase in foreign competition is expected to raise the price of putting a car on the track.[56]

Another topic on the NASCAR circuit is the increase in foreign born drivers and the effects they may have on the future of NASCAR. Juan Pablo Montoya, Patrick Carpentier, and Dario Franchitti are among the foreign-born big names who have crossed over from Formula One and the Indy racing circuit.[58] These drivers have made an impact on NASCAR not only by winning races and dominating road courses, but by expanding NASCAR's point of view.[57]

NASCAR included a race at the Mexican road course Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in the Nationwide Series schedule from 2005 through 2008, as well as a race in Montreal, Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from 2007 through 2012, with the Camping World Truck Series adding a date at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2013. There has been talk of possible expansion with exhibition races in Japan and a return to Canada.[59]

Expanding into international markets could increase NASCAR's popularity and allow foreign sponsors and manufactures to get involved in the sport. Some think this could be a very positive move for NASCAR, which has seen its television ratings drop 21 percent between 2005 and 2007.[60] During the same 2-year period, NASCAR also saw the greatest drop in tickets prices observed in over a decade.[60] In 2010, NASCAR saw television ratings drop 10% from the year before, which was down 33% off its peak in 2005.[61] Some think that an increase in international diversity would translate into growth and generate greater opportunities for NASCAR fans.[58]

NASCAR.com

In October 2000, Turner Sports acquired the digital rights to NASCAR, and subsequently took over its website, which features news, information, and interactive features (such as RaceView and RaceBuddy) surrounding its series. While NASCAR had extended Turner's contract to operate the site through 2016, the association announced in January 2012 that it would take operation of the site back in-house in 2013. As a result, a new NASCAR.com was launched on January 3, 2013, which features a multimedia-oriented design enhanced to provide a higher level of fan interaction, and provide an improved second screen experience for viewers on mobile devices.[62][63]

Subsidiaries and 'sister' organizations

NASCAR Digital Media

NASCAR Digital Media is a television production company located in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. The company is a subsidiary of NASCAR and produces programs designed to promote the sport of professional stock car racing. It also manages the NASCAR website.[64]

International Speedway Corporation

While not officially connected to NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1953 to construct and manage tracks that NASCAR holds competitions at. Since several members of the France family are executives at ISC, it is sometimes the subject of antitrust lawsuits.[65]

Grand-Am

The Grand American Road Racing Association (Grand-Am) was a sanctioning body of sports car racing. While it was founded independently of NASCAR by several members of the France family, NASCAR took over Grand-Am, but allows it to operate autonomously. The series merged with the American Le Mans Series in 2014 to form the United SportsCar Championship.

Education

NASCAR Technical Institute located in Mooresville, North Carolina, is the country's first technical training school to combine a complete automotive technology program and a NASCAR-specific motor sports program, and is the exclusive educational partner of NASCAR.

NASCAR Kinetics was established in 2009 with the mission of connecting college students nationwide to NASCAR, and mentored its last round of students in 2013.

NASCAR in culture

Movies about NASCAR racing include Days of Thunder (1990), Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), and Logan Lucky (2017).

NASCAR drivers have made appearances in many television series, and TV movies including The Cleveland Show[66] Sullivan & Son, Last Man Standing.[67]

See also

Notes

Note 1: The largest NASCAR tracks can accommodate upwards of 190,000 people in the stands and infield, far larger than any non-motorsport venue in North America.

References

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External links

2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the 71st season of NASCAR professional stock car racing in the United States, and the 48th modern-era Cup series season. The season began at Daytona International Speedway with the Advance Auto Parts Clash, the Gander RV Duel qualifying races and the 61st running of the Daytona 500. The regular season will end with the Brickyard 400 in September. The playoffs will end with the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2019. Joey Logano of Team Penske enters as the defending series champion.

The 2019 season is the fifth of the current 10-year television contract with Fox Sports and NBC Sports and the fourth of a five-year race sanctioning agreement with all tracks. It is the first season in which Ford fields the Mustang GT, replacing the Fusion.

2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

The 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series is the 25th season of the third highest stock car racing series sanctioned by NASCAR in North America. It will mark the transition of the series' corporate sponsor from Camping World to its subsidiary Gander Outdoors.

2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series

The 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series is the 38th season of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, a stock car racing series sanctioned by NASCAR in the United States. Tyler Reddick enters as the defending champion.

The season marks the debut of the Toyota Supra, which replaces the Camry.

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway, formerly known as Bristol International Raceway and Bristol Raceway, is a NASCAR short track venue located in Bristol, Tennessee. Constructed in 1960, it held its first NASCAR race on July 30, 1961. Despite its short length, Bristol is among the most popular tracks on the NASCAR schedule because of its distinct features, which include extraordinarily steep banking, an all concrete surface, two pit roads, and stadium-like seating. It has also been named one of the loudest NASCAR tracks.

Criticism of NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. NASCAR also administers a number of regional racing series, including the Whelen Modified Tour, and the Whelen All-American Series, as well as international series in Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

Similar to other professional motor racing leagues and sanctioning bodies, NASCAR has been a target of criticism on a variety of issues. Some critics note the significant differences between present day NASCAR vehicles and true "stock cars". Another topic of debate has been NASCAR's move to larger markets; in 1997, NASCAR added the California and Texas Motor Speedway, respectively located in the metro areas of Los Angeles and Dallas. This caused NASCAR to move away from traditional tracks such as Rockingham, which has led to some fans feeling that NASCAR abandoned its core market.Others cite the dominance of the France family (and Brian France in particular) in NASCAR's business structure, policies, and decision making. Recently, the increased number of Cup drivers competing consistently in the Xfinity Series races has been hotly debated. NASCAR has been challenged on the types and frequency of caution flags, with some critics suggesting the outcome of races is being manipulated, and that the intention is not safety, as NASCAR claims, but closer racing.

Since its peak in 2005, NASCAR has seen a gradual decline, with its TV viewership reaching record lows in 2018 and race day attendance suffering to record lows as well. Reasons cited for its decline include the aforementioned track changes, the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow which both drivers and fans alike criticized, the constant tinkering of the rules of its championship and the racing itself, the change in its race day experience, the perceived decline in the quality of its racing, and the retirement of its past stars.Another general area of criticism, not only of NASCAR but other motorsports as well, includes questions about fuel consumption, emissions and pollution, and the use of lead additives in the gasoline.

Dale Earnhardt

Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr. (; April 29, 1951 – February 18, 2001) was an American professional auto racing driver and team owner, best known for his involvement in stock car racing for NASCAR. The third child of racing driver Ralph Earnhardt and first of two to Martha Coleman, he began his career in 1975 in the World 600 as part of the Winston Cup Series.

Regarded as one of the most significant drivers in NASCAR history, Earnhardt won a total of 76 Winston Cup races over the course of his career, including the 1998 Daytona 500. He also earned seven NASCAR Winston Cup championships, tying for the most all-time with Richard Petty. This feat, accomplished in 1994, was not equaled again for 22 years until Jimmie Johnson in 2016. His aggressive driving style earned him the nicknames "The Intimidator", "The Man in Black", and "The Count of Monte Carlo". Also, his success at the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega earned him the nickname, "Mr. Restrictor Plate".

In February 2001, Earnhardt was killed instantly in a collision during the final lap of the Daytona 500, an event that was widely lamented in the racing industry. Earnhardt has been inducted into numerous halls of fame, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame inaugural class in 2010.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. (born October 10, 1974), known professionally as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Jr., or just Junior, is an American semi-retired professional stock car racing driver, team owner, and is currently an analyst for NASCAR on NBC. He currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro for his team JR Motorsports. He is the son of NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Sr. He is also the grandson of both NASCAR driver Ralph Earnhardt and stock car fabricator Robert Gee, the brother of Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, the half-brother of former driver Kerry Earnhardt, the uncle of driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, the stepson of Teresa Earnhardt, and the older half-brother of Taylor Nicole Earnhardt-Putnam.

Earnhardt's success at Daytona International Speedway throughout his career has earned him the nickname "Pied Piper" of Daytona. He is a two-time Daytona 500 winner, having won the races exactly 10 years apart (2004 and 2014), and has won the Most Popular Driver Award fifteen times (consecutively from 2003–2017). He has an estimated net worth of $400 million.

After driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI), his father's team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, for much of his early Cup career, he moved to Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 88 in 2008. He remained with HMS until his retirement in 2017. Earnhardt retired with 26 wins in the Cup Series, a total which put him in the top 40 in NASCAR history.

Danica Patrick

Danica Sue Patrick (; born March 25, 1982) is a retired American professional racing driver. She is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing—her victory in the 2008 Indy Japan 300 is the only win by a woman in an IndyCar Series race.

Born to a working-class family in Beloit, Wisconsin, Patrick began karting at the age of ten and achieved early success by winning her class in the World Karting Association Grand National Championship three times in the mid-1990s. She dropped out of high school with her parents' permission in 1998, and moved to the United Kingdom to further her career. Patrick competed in Formula Vauxhall and Formula Ford before returning to the United States in 2001 due to a lack of funding. In 2002, she competed in five Barber Dodge Pro Series races for Rahal Letterman Racing. Patrick later raced in the Toyota Atlantic Series for the next two years. Her best effort was third in the championship standings for the 2004 season where she became the first woman to win a pole position in the series.

She first drove in the IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Racing in 2005 and took three pole positions, equaling Tomas Scheckter's record of poles in a rookie season. She was named the Rookie of the Year for both the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and the 2005 IndyCar Series. She improved over the next two years with Rahal Letterman Racing in 2006 and later Andretti Green Racing in 2007. In 2008, Patrick followed up this victory to place sixth overall in the drivers' standings. She improved on this to secure fifth the following season, which saw her finish a career-high third at the Indianapolis 500, the best performance by any woman at the race. Patrick's overall form declined during 2010, but she still managed two second-places at oval tracks before leaving IndyCar after the 2011 season to focus on stock car racing full-time.

Patrick began racing stock cars in 2010 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) with her best result coming in the form of a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011. She placed a career-high tenth in the 2012 season standings and was the second woman to clinch a pole position in the Nationwide Series since Shawna Robinson in 1994. Patrick started in the Sprint Cup Series (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) in 2012. She became the first woman to win a Cup Series pole position by setting the fastest qualifying lap for the 2013 Daytona 500, finishing eighth. Patrick bested Janet Guthrie's record for the most top-ten finishes by a woman in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015. She announced her intention to step away from full-time racing after the 2017 season, but competed at the 2018 Daytona 500 and the 2018 Indianapolis 500 before officially retiring.

Jeff Gordon

Jeffery Michael Gordon (born August 4, 1971) is an American former professional stock car racing driver, currently an announcer for Fox NASCAR, and a top executive for Hendrick Motorsports. He formerly drove the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 23 full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons between 1993 and 2015, and served as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in select races during the 2016 season.

Gordon started his professional racing career in the Busch Series with Hugh Connerty Racing, followed by Bill Davis Racing, winning three races, and began racing full-time in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports in 1993. He is a four-time Sprint Cup champion, having won the title in 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001. He also won the Daytona 500 three times in 1997, 1999, and 2005. He is third on the all-time Cup wins list with 93 career wins, the most in NASCAR's modern era (1972–present). Gordon's 81 pole positions led all active drivers and is third all-time; Gordon won at least one pole in 23 consecutive seasons, making this a NASCAR record. He was also the active "iron man" leader for consecutive races participated in with 797 through the 2015 season.In 1998, NASCAR named Gordon to its 50 Greatest Drivers list. In 2008, ten years later, ESPN's Terry Blount ranked him 10th in the 25 Greatest Drivers of All-Time. Foxsports.com named him as the fifth best NASCAR driver of all time.Gordon, along with Rick Hendrick, co-owns the No. 48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, who won seven Cup championships from 2006 to 2010, 2013, and in 2016. Gordon also has an equity stake in the No. 24 team. Gordon also owned a Busch Series team between 1999 and 2000, Gordon/Evernham Motorsports (co-owned with Ray Evernham; later solely owned as JG Motorsports), winning twice.

Gordon was born in Vallejo, California, and raised in Pittsboro, Indiana, and considers Sonoma Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway as his "home" tracks. He currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch and their two children Ella Sofia and Leo Benjamin.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Thomas Busch (born May 2, 1985), nicknamed Rowdy, is an American professional stock car racing driver and team owner. He currently competes full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 18 Toyota Supra for JGR, and part-time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, driving the No. 51 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. KBM runs multiple trucks in the Truck Series and a Super Late Model team. Busch is the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

Busch is the younger brother of 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Kurt Busch. He also currently holds several records in NASCAR competition, including the most race wins in a season across the top three NASCAR series, with 24 wins, which he accomplished in 2010. He holds the record for most all-time wins in all three of NASCAR's national touring series with 204 (as of April 7, 2019). Furthermore, he holds the record for the most Xfinity Series wins in a season with 13 in 2010, and the most overall with 95. Busch also holds the record for most overall wins in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series with 55. As of 2019, he is the only driver in history to have 50+ wins in NASCAR's top 3 series.

At age 19 years and 317 days, Busch became NASCAR's youngest ever pole winner in a Cup Series race at California Speedway in 2005. He's the youngest driver to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, in 2006. Furthermore, Busch became the first driver to win a race and a championship in a Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway during the 2008 season and the 2015 Cup Series championship. Additionally, he is the only driver to win four straight spring races at Richmond International Raceway (2009–2012), and was also the inaugural winner of the first Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway, in 2011.

Busch, who began his NASCAR career in 2003, is one of only five drivers that have won a championship in both the Sprint Cup Series and the Xfinity Series, and in 2005 became the 14th of only 28 drivers to win a race in each of NASCAR's three national series. In 2009, Busch became the first driver to win two of NASCAR's top touring series races in the same day (at Auto Club Speedway), followed in 2010 as the first driver to win races in all three of NASCAR's top three touring series in the same weekend (at Bristol), which he would do again at the same track in 2017.

When Busch won the 2009 Crown Royal Presents the Russell Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway as he turned 24, he was the second of just three people to ever win on their birthday. His team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, became the first Camping World Truck Series team to win the owners' championship in its first year after recording 8 wins, 16 top 5, and 21 top 10 finishes in 2010.

List of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers' Championship is awarded by the chairman of NASCAR to the most successful Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing car driver over a season, as determined by a points system based on race results. The Drivers' Championship was first awarded in 1949 to Red Byron. The first driver to win multiple Championships was Herb Thomas in 1951 and 1953. The current Drivers' Champion is Joey Logano, who won his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2018.The NASCAR points system has undergone several incarnations since its initial implementation. Originally, races awarded points by a complicated system based upon final positioning and weighted by prize money purses, such that higher-paying events gave more points. Soon after the advent of the modern era in 1972, the championship was decided by a more basic cumulative point total based solely upon a driver's finishing position in each race. In order to reduce the possibility of a driver clinching before the final event, NASCAR implemented the "Chase for the Cup" in 2004 which, with minor modification from 2004 to 2013 and more radical changes in 2014, stands as the current format. Before the final ten races, 16 drivers, chosen primarily on race wins, are reset to an equal number of points, with bonus points awarded to a driver for each win prior to the reset. With these changes, the last Drivers' Champion to clinch before the final race was Matt Kenseth in 2003.Overall, thirty-three different drivers have won the Championship, with Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jimmie Johnson holding the record for most titles at seven. Johnson has the record for most consecutive Drivers' Championships, winning five from 2006 to 2010. Thus far, every champion has originated from the United States.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) (often shortened to the Cup Series) is the top racing series of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Since 2017, it has been named for its sponsor, Monster Energy, but has been known by other names in the past. The series began in 1949 as the Strictly Stock Division, and from 1950 to 1970 it was known as the Grand National Division. In 1971, when the series began leasing its naming rights to the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it was referred to as the Winston Cup Series. A similar deal was made with Nextel in 2003, and it became the Nextel Cup Series (2004–2007). Sprint acquired Nextel in 2005, and in 2008 the series was renamed the Sprint Cup Series, which lasted until 2016. In December 2016, it was announced that Monster Energy would become the new title sponsor starting in 2017.

The championship is determined by a points system, with points being awarded according to finish placement and number of laps led. The season is divided into two segments. After the first 26 races, 16 drivers, selected primarily on the basis of wins during the first 26 races, are seeded based on their total number of wins. They compete in the last ten races, where the difference in points is greatly minimized. This is called the NASCAR playoffs.The series holds strong roots in the Southeastern United States, with half of the races in the 36-race season being held in that region. The current schedule includes tracks from around the United States. Regular season races were previously held in Canada, and exhibition races were held in Japan and Australia. The Daytona 500, the most prestigious race, had a television audience of about 9.17 million U.S. viewers in 2019.Cup Series cars are unique in automobile racing. The engines are powerful enough to reach speeds of over 200 mph (320 km/h), but their weight coupled with a relatively simple aerodynamic package (based on the body styles of cars currently available for retail sale in the United States) make for poor handling. The bodies and chassis of the cars are strictly regulated to ensure parity, and electronics are traditionally spartan in nature.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series

The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) is a pickup truck racing series owned and operated by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, and is the only series in all of NASCAR to race modified production pickup trucks. The series is one of three national divisions of NASCAR, ranking as the third tier behind the second-tier NASCAR Xfinity Series and the top level Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Camping World was the title sponsor from 2009 to 2018; it replaced Craftsman, who served in that role from 1996 through 2008.The series was previously called the NASCAR SuperTruck Series in 1995, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from 1996 through 2008, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from 2009 through 2018.

NASCAR Kinetics

NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion was established in 2009 with the mission of connecting college students nationwide to NASCAR. The program gave participants insight on possible career paths, and was meant to help develop their ability to collaborate with other students. Weekly assignments and projects were based on real-world challenges and opportunities facing NASCAR and its sponsors.

The winner of the fall 2011 semester of NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion was the University of Central Florida.

NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion mentored its last round on college students in 2013. During its four-year history, many graduates of the program earned sports, sports marketing and business internships and full-time jobs, some with NASCAR itself.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) is a stock car racing series organized by NASCAR. It is promoted as NASCAR's "minor league" circuit, and is considered a proving ground for drivers who wish to step up to the organization's top level circuit, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. NXS events are frequently held as a support race on the day prior to a Cup Series event scheduled for that weekend.

The series was previously called the Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series in 1982 and 1983, the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series from 1984 through 2002, the NASCAR Busch Series from 2003 through 2007, and the NASCAR Nationwide Series from 2008 through 2014. It is currently sponsored by Comcast via its consumer cable brand Xfinity.

NASCAR rules and regulations

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) makes and enforces numerous rules and regulations that transcend all racing series.

NASCAR issues a different rule book for each racing series; however, rule books are published exclusively for NASCAR members and are not made available to the public. Still, many of the rules, such as the scoring system, have been widely publicized both by NASCAR and the media.

Richmond Raceway

Richmond Raceway (RR) is a 0.75 miles (1.21 km), D-shaped, asphalt race track located just outside Richmond, Virginia in Henrico County. It hosts the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. Known as "America's premier short track", it formerly hosted a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, an IndyCar Series race, and two USAC sprint car races. Because of Richmond Raceway's unique "D" track shape, Richmond is no longer considered to be a true "Short Track" like the mecca of short tracks, Martinsville Speedway. Many NASCAR Drivers do not associate Richmond Raceway as a "Short Track" as they are more in line with mile tracks because of the multiple racing grooves and banking.Richmond Raceway is one of only a few tracks to host all of its events at night. The track sold out 33 consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races. The sellout streak ended in September 2008 partially due to the economic downturn, though the major factor in ticket sales was the impact of Tropical Storm Hanna.Richmond has hosted the final "regular-season" race, leading up to the start of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, each year since the concept was introduced in 2004. However, it was announced late in 2017 that Richmond would be moved into the playoffs for the 2018 season.

In 2010, the Raceway introduced a state-of-the-art video scoring tower that boasts more LED square footage than any other in the motorsports industry. The cap features four high definition LED screens that measure 38-feet wide by 24-feet high. The screens broadcast live race action and pre-produced video and graphics. The stem shows running order and has the ability to rotate through the entire field.

On January 28, 2019, it was revealed on ISC's 2018 annual report that the raceway's track seating was reduced from 59,000 to 51,000.

Rusty Wallace

Russell William "Rusty" Wallace, Jr. (born August 14, 1956) is a retired American racing driver, and a former NASCAR Winston Cup Champion. Considered one of racing's most well-known and charismatic personalities, he is a member of four of stock car racing's major halls of fame: the NASCAR Hall of Fame (2013), the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2013), the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (2014) and the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame (2010). He was the 1984 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year and the 1989 Winston Cup champion.

Stock car racing

Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing found mainly and most prominently in the United States and Canada, with Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Great Britain and Brazil also having forms of stock car auto racing. Traditionally, races are run on oval tracks measuring approximately 0.25 to 2.66 miles (0.4 to 4.3 kilometers). The world's largest governing body for stock car racing is the American NASCAR, and its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is the premier top level series of professional stock car racing. Top level races typically range between 200 to 600 miles (322 to 966 km) in length. The cars were originally production models (hence, "stock"), but are now highly modified.

Top level stock cars exceed 200 mph (322 km/h) at speedway tracks and on superspeedway tracks such as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

Contemporary NASCAR-spec top level cars produce maximum power outputs of 860-900 hp from their naturally aspirated V8 engines. In October 2007 American race car driver Russ Wicks set a speed record for stock cars in a 2007-season Dodge Charger built to NASCAR specifications by achieving a maximum speed of 244.9 mph (394.1 km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats. For the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, power output of the competing cars ranged from 750 to 800 hp (560 to 600 kW).

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