NASCAR generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually. Each season — not in the middle of a pandemic — millions of fans attend races at tracks around the country. It’s a far cry from where it all started back in the late 1940s.
In a special episode of the Dale Jr. Download, Dale Earnhardt Jr. revisited those early days of NASCAR, and in particular, the organization’s formation. He reviewed historical documents he accidentally unearthed recently that included the minutes from the first meeting where NASCAR all started and how it almost had a different name.
History of NASCAR
The history of NASCAR is an interesting one. It all came together in 1947 when Bill France Sr., who was a race car driver, organized a meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida. He invited many of the major players of the sport who had been participating in the various regional circuits.
The group met over the course of three days to decide on numerous things, including the rules, a schedule, and the organization’s headquarters.
When it was all said and done, the group created a specific set of rules to be applied universally, adopted a schedule, and agreed the headquarters would be located in Daytona Beach. One of the final orders of business was deciding on a name. Interestingly, it turned out to be much more challenging than you would imagine and NASCAR wasn’t the first choice.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reads through the minutes of first meeting to form NASCAR
Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed on a recent special episode of the Dale Jr. Download podcast, in going through his collection of NASCAR-related items, he stumbled on to the minutes from the first meetings held at the Streamline Hotel in 1947, which he said were at least 30 years old.
According to Earnhardt, one of the most interesting things found in the minutes was how the organization came up with its name. He said Bill France Sr. tasked the nearly two dozen attending on the second day of meetings to consider ideas for an association name.
“On Wednesday morning, the third day, they all meet at 10am and driver Red Byron made a motion to adopt NSCRA, National Stock Car Racing Association as the name of the association for the present time. Buddy Schuman, who was also a driver, seconded the motion.”
According to the minutes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the motion was not voted on. The organization did not have an official name.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. reveals the interesting reason why NASCAR got its official name
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the minutes later show that Bill France Sr. asked those in the room to come up with their own ideas for a name. They declined. After a break, they returned that afternoon to vote on a name.
“The choices were, National Stock Car Racing Association, NSCRA. Or, National Association of Stock Car Racing, NASCAR. Those two were the options. The results of the voting were 7 to 4, NSCRA,” Earnhardt said surprised.
Earnhardt said someone attending then raised the issue that there was another sanctioning body in Georgia with that same name. The group wondered what steps would be necessary to take over and form a new corporation under this name since it was already incorporated.
“Ed Bruce made a motion that the voting of the name by ballot be disregarded and that the association start from scratch, incorporate here in Florida, and the name National Association of Stock Car Racing be used. Jack Peters second the motion. It was voted on and carried.”
And just like that, the racing association became known as NASCAR. More than 70 years later, the name rolls off the tongue. It was the right choice because NSCRA just doesn’t have the same ring to it.