|Bill France Sr. in his office|
Credit: France Family archives/NASCAR Media
In January 1947, after having competed and promoted a few auto races in the Daytona Beach, Florida area, William France Sr. decided it was time to develop a series for racers, which he named the “National Championship Stock Car Series.” France approached the American Automobile Association in hopes of gaining financial backing for the venture, but the group declined.
France was not deterred, however, and announced that the winner of the 1947 season – beginning in Daytona in January and ending in December at Jacksonville – would receive a check for $1,000 and a trophy. Almost 40 events were run that season, with Fonty Flock declared the champion after winning seven events. France was true to his word, and delivered a check and a trophy to Flock, as well as $3,000 in prize money for other drivers who competed.
France also announced a series of meetings following the 1947 season that would directly lead to the formation of NASCAR. The first of four meetings was held Dec. 14, 1947 at 1 p.m. in the Streamline Hotel in Florida, with France hosting 35 representatives of the National Championship Stock Car Circuit (NCSCC) and outlining his idea for an organized group of drivers. The original name chosen was the National Stock Car Racing Association, but someone pointed out that the name was already being used by another organization. Mechanic Red Vogt proposed the name National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, which became NASCAR.
On Feb. 21, 1948, NASCAR was officially founded by France, with its original divisions being Modifieds, Roadsters and Strictly Stock. Roadsters were quickly abandoned as a division and Strictly Stock was put on hold until 1949. The Modified division ran 52 races in 1948, with Red Byron being named the first NASCAR champ.