William France Sr. commonly referred to as Bill France, was born in Washington DC where he lived up until his late teens. France was a Mechanic. He moved to Daytona in 1935 when the Great Depression began to bite. Back then, Daytona was famed for speedy cars. A group of drivers used to gather at Daytona Beach to race and determine the best drivers and which car was the fastest. This tradition grew and soon the National Stock Car Championship series was formed.
Bill France started off as a driver but moved into promoting races after the original promoter of the Daytona Beach course gave up promotion.
In 1947, after noticing that race promoters were taking advantage of drivers and mechanics, Bill France started discussions with a group of them to find out ways in which they could streamline victory purses, insurance cover and uniform rules. The end result was the formation of the sanctioning body of stock car races known today as National Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing or NASCAR in short. At first, the cars were to race in one of three categories: Strictly Stock cars, Modified and Roadster categories. After a while, the roadster division proved unpopular and was done away with.
The first event by NASCAR involving these three categories sanctioned was held in 1948, with racer Red Byron emerging winner.
In 1949 on the Charlotte speedway, NASCAR sanctioned its first event involving only stock cars. Driver Jim Roper emerged tops. That year, several other strictly stock races were promoted by NASCAR in different states; New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. By 1953, the fame of Daytona Beach races was growing and there was a need to construct a permanent race track.
By 1958, NASCAR was holding races in 24 venues out of an available 54 and the NASCAR series was fast changing from just a regional event to a national one.
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