The Prohibition Era and the Creation of NASCAR

Category: Creation, Era, Prohibition
Last Updated: 20 Apr 2022
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NASCAR is the world famous acronym for “National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.”NASCAR racing stands prominently in the front line of the American sports today. NASCAR is an authorizing body which arranges several types of racing all over the country the country. The most famous ones are Craftsman Truck Series, Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series.[1]


The creation of NASCAR traces back its roots in history. The creation of NASCAR traces back to its roots deep in the history. It goes back to1794 almost a century before the first automobile came into being. It was the time of “Whiskey Rebellion”. This rebellion was actually a protest by frontier farmers against a federal tax levied on whiskey. Despite paying the tax they built secret stills, prepared and started supplying their product secretly.[2] There began the origin of NASCAR. In this paper this history is presented decade wise.

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Decade 1(1920-1933)

On 16th January 1920 the “Volstead Act” was imposed all over United States. The manufacture, sale, export and import of alcohol were banned under this act.[3]

In the Prohibition period of the 1920's and early 30's, the underground marketing of whiskey, or "moonshine running” began to rise. Moonshine is a primitive term in English for illegal transportation of liquor, and gradually gave birth to moonshine/ moonshine runners or rum runners. These moonshiners were commonly known as “Bootleggers”. These people who confidentially used to supply whiskey from their underground stills illegally to hundreds of markets all over the Southeast. Their t high speeds driving at night because of the risk of police encounter was quite dangerous. It gradually turned into race competitions between the bootleggers which usually resulted in lose of life or imprisonment.

When bootlegging developed, the bootleggers started to race among themselves to check the speed of their cars. They used to have these races on Sunday afternoons and then the same car was used to smuggle moonshine at Sunday night. Unavoidably, these races and moonshine cars became extremely popular in general public. It even continued after the end of the prohibition era in 1933 on repeal of the Volstead Act.[4]

Decade 2 (1938-1950):

In 1938 William H.G. Bill France held a race on Daytona Beach, Florida and NASCAR came into being. With the beginning of World War II brought stock car racing came to an end but it again grew after the war but there were no appropriate rules and the proper organization. Soon Bill realized the importance of growth of stock car racing and consequently to start a formal official organization the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) in 1947.

In the supervision of Bill France Senior and afterwards his son, Bill France Junior NASCAR has turned into a rapidly growing sport in the 1990s.The first race sanctioned by NASCAR held on the beach course at Daytona in February 1948. The next year NASCAR began the racing division of NASCAR called "Strictly Stock" division, now identified as the Winston Cup Series. The first race by "Strictly Stock" contributed a $5,000 purse and held in southern Florida on a two-mile circular course followed by150-mile race at the three-quarter-mile Charlotte Speedway. The first NASCAR race on newly made Darlington International Speedway was held in 1959 in South Carolina.[5]The NASCAR is flourishing since then till today

Current Decade

As compared to the last decade NAS CAR racing has achieved the fore front of spectator sports in America, both live and in television telecasts. “The Fiftieth Season” of NASCAR was celebrated I 1998 which received great public attendance and an immense coverage by the media which clearly shows the great development and popularity of NASCAR not only in United States but across the world s well.[6]


After going through the history of creation and growth of NASCAR, the link between the prohibition era in the United States and the creation of NASCAR has been vividly depicted. The role played by the bootleggers/ rumrunners/moonshiners is inevitable in the origin of NASCAR. Certain schools of thoughts in United States still assume them as heroes who fought against injustice and undue taxation no matter they were treated as criminals or smugglers. They believe that America was built by them.[7]

Neal Thompson has written a book “Driving with the Devils” about the moonshiners. Charles Danoff reviews the book and says that people may find “Driving with the Devil”over sympathizing the southern bootleggers regardless the fact that they were criminals anyhow. But without this deep sympathy the story could never be told. The author treats Bill France as a dictator.

Danoff is of the opinion that France family may tell this story in any manner they want, but its an undeniable fact that NASCAR did not came into being in 1940s as its website says. Its origin was conceived sometimes two decade earlier.[8]



 Accessed March 10, 2008

The Chicago Bootleggers: The Hollow Men of NASCAR from Accessed March 10, 2008

 The History of NASCAR

 Accessed March 10, 2008

What is Car Racing Accessed March 10, 2008

Ziewacz Lawrence E.The Country Music- NASCAR Connection. Country Music 2001, Charles K.Wolfe and James E. Akenson

[1] What is NASCAR?
[2]The History of NASCAR
[3] Rumrunners and Prohibition
[4] The History of NASCAR
[5] The History of NASCAR

[6] The Country Music-NASCAR Connection
[7] Rumrunners,Moonshiners,Bootleggers(
[8] The Chicago Sports Review: Bootleggers: The Hollow Men of NASCAR

Cite this Page

The Prohibition Era and the Creation of NASCAR. (2017, Feb 21). Retrieved from

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