Founded over 50 years ago, NASCAR, a popular southern racing tradition, has become one of the largest spectator sports in the world. Along with racing came an American marketing revolution. Why would one make that claim? Just watch a race, each car is illustrated with logos and marketing slogans of Fortune 500 companies. How did NASCAR emerge? Escaping from the great depression mechanic William France Sr. moved to Daytona Beach from Washington D. C.
There France participated in many races and then in 1936 France participated in the Daytona Event, finishing fourth. Soon after France took over the course and became heavily involved throughout the stock car racing community. December 12th, 1947, NASCAR was created by France and a few other NASCAR drivers at the Streamline Inn Motel in Daytona Beach, Florida. The organization named William France Sr. as its first president. In 2006, NASCAR announced that it had selected Charlotte, North Carolina as the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Although NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Racing) started in 1948, it wasn’t until 1971 that corporate sponsorship emerged. NASCAR gained support with the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company through its Winston Brand. From there emerged NASCAR’s premiere division, also known as NASCAR Winston Cup Series. By the mid 1980’s, Fortune 500 companies not only were involved in sponsoring NASCAR series, but full sponsorships existed for races and teams. But, why would successful business’s around the country, want to market their product at a NASCAR race?
The biggest reason is there tremendous crowds, all directing attention to one thing, the exterior of stock cars racing around a track. From 1993 to 1998, the Cup series at the track alone grew 57 percent, and its top three divisions combined grew a staggering 80 percent. In 1994 alone, the Winston Cup series drew 4,896,000 fans for only 31 events. Each one of those fans, have a favorite driver that they are loyal to. This means that they will support that company’s sponsors by buying their products that are displayed throughout the stock-cars.
Although many may argue NASCAR is losing its southern roots and becoming more of a mainstream American sport, it still is one of the greatest American marketing revolutions ever created. Driving with the Devil: Southern Moonshine, Detroit Wheels and the birth of NASCAR, Neil Thompson. Nascar: A Fast History, Greg Fielden, Publications International, Daytona Beach, Florida, March 3rd, 2005. Nascar: The Complete History, Greg Fielden, Publications International, Daytona Beach, Florida, April 21st, 2009.