Stock car racing is a popular form of automobile racing in the United States. It uses production cars which are customized for racing purposes. The race events are usually done on an oval, paved tracks and racers are pushed to the limits over a great number of laps.
Stock car racing is said to have originated in 1919 to 1933 from illegal operators who needed private cars that are capable of more than ordinary speed to evade the law while transporting liquor. They turned and altered ordinary cars to make them faster. Eventually, these cars were raced for pleasure and it became a popular racing event in the southeastern states.
The largest governing body in stock racing is the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing or NASCAR. It organizes premiere racing events such as the Daytona 500, Southern 500, and Sprint Cup Series.
History of Stock Car Racing
Stock car racing began in the Southern Appalachians from good old boys transporting a lot of illegal moonshines using their souped-up ’34 Fords. They were trying to get away from the revenue agents while driving without headlights along dark roads at speeds exceeding 120 miles per hour. Their goal was to prove who had the fastest car. This led to weekend races at tracks which were carved out of meadows and corn fields.
In 1948, Bill France saw the need to formally organize the race. That was the time the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was founded which is the motorsport’s well-known stock car racing organization. After many years, stock car racing has evolved from drivers who raced for gas money on tracks to millionaire owners and drivers who raced at tracks across the country.
Today, stock car racing annually draws ten million fans in America. Its fans are also loyal to the brands their favorite driver is sponsored by. For example, if their favorite driver is sponsored by a soft drink producer, that will be the product they’ll buy. Its events are also covered by the media. In fact, every Nationwide Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup, and Camping World Truck Series race is televised.
Originally, a stock car is an automobile that has not been modified from its original factory configuration. But later on, the term stock car meant any production-based automobile used in racing. The standards of stock cars have changed over the years and it now varies from country to country. In the present time, most of the stock cars in America resemble a standard American family sedan but they are in fact purpose-built racing machines.
Stock Car Racing Classes
Stock car racing has different classes and each of them has slightly different rules.
- Street Stock and Pure Stock
Street stock car racing is consisting of only street vehicles which can be bought by the general public. It is sometimes referred to as hobby stock, showroom stock, or U-car racing.
- Super Stock
This stock class is similar to street stock but it allows more engine modifications to cars. Automobiles in this class usually have a power output in the range of 500 to 550 horsepower and their tires’ width are limited to 8 in or 200 mm.
- Late Model
This is known as the highest class of stock cars when it comes to local racing. The rules of construction of a late model car depend from region to region or race track to race track. Some of the common variations are super late models, late model stock cars, and limited late models. They can be a custom built machine or a heavily modified street car.
Stock Car Racing Tracks
Stock car racing usually takes place on oval tracks with 3 or 4 turns to the left. The oval tracks are classified into three: short track which is less than a mile, speedway which is 1 to 2 miles, and superspeedway which is over 2 miles. The race speeds also depend on the track but they are typically 90 miles per hour to over 200 miles per hour.
The circuits used in stock car racing differs from those of rally and Formula One as it does not have rough terrain, sharp turns, and complicated twists and turns. It’s because stock cars are much heavier than Formula One cars, meaning, they are generally slower and they cannot produce the g-forces of an open wheel car.
Stock car racing’s fan base continues to grow in the present time and it will possibly stay as popular motorsport especially with the building of new speedways.