Spend an afternoon at a NASCAR racetrack and you’ll be immersed into a sensory overload of sight and sound. 2023 marks the 75th Anniversary of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
NASCAR has evolved since the first race in 1948 on the sands of Daytona Beach. The cars have changed from your everyday beech wagon to the sophisticated machines of today.
When NASCAR ran its inaugural race, the cars were strictly stock. Few modifications were allowed. Drivers for the most part used their everyday cars and drove them from home to the track regardless of the distance. Race cars were literally driven from the street to the race track. Nothing flashy. No specialty trained pit crew. No decked-out haulers. If you crashed your car in the race it typically meant you hitched a ride back home.
As racing technology changed, it was apparent that manufacturers were willing to produce increasingly larger engines to remain competitive. During the early days of stock car racing, more horsepower ultimately meant more wins. While engine size and horsepower matter in part today, the engine tech also plays a big role to get the checkered flag.
Body changes also increased over time. Radical changes in a racecar’s aerodynamics improved the likelihood of winning. And, just as the race car engine evolved over time, so too did one key compontent of the race: safety. One interesting note, the first-gen racers actually had working doors, an issue that proved to be one of many hazards for drivers.
Since 1948, safety modifications have included:
Seat Belts and Harnesses
Pit Road Safety
Prize money has also changed since 1948. In 1948, more than 250 applicants nationwide signed up for the Dayton Beach race. Fewer than 50 cars ended up running the 2.2-mile course. The purse was $3,500. Today’s Goodyear 400 is scheduled for 293 laps around a 1.366-mile track. The winner of today’s race will pocket something in the seven-figure range.
The Goodyear 400 is a NASCAR Cup Series race held at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. The 100-mile race was first held in May at the track in 1952, however the event did not become a regular one on the NASCAR schedule until 1957, as a 300-mile race. In 1966, the race was expanded to 400 miles, and in 1973 to 500 miles. In 1994, the race was relegated again to 400 miles.
Today’s race can be seen live on FS1, one of the many sports channels Vidgo offers. Vidgo has the best line-up of sports, news, and entertainment, and has several packages to choose from offering up to 150 channels and more than 35,000 VOD options and DVR. Vidgo gives you the Freedom to be Entertained how, when, and where you desire.