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As a big NASCAR fan, I get all giddy this time of year. With the first roar of the engines to the kick of speed weeks, to the most famous words in racing, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!” I get fired up. (ha! get it?) Everyone knows that I’ll be glued to the TV, along with 18 million others for the Daytona 500 on that magical Sunday. I realize that some of you simply don’t understand the entertainment of 43 cars going around in circles, and the colossal waste of fuel. If you have never been to a race, it’s hard to imagine the energy that comes from a track with a crowd of over 100,000 people (almost double that at most tracks), not including the infield and the folks that never make it to the track. And yes, part of the fun is what happens in the parking lots… and the final laps of the race.
NASCAR wasn’t always the money making machine it is today. Its roots began with runners carrying moonshine, illegally. These guys had to find a way to make a fast getaway from the law in case they were caught. And it worked. Not long after the sport of moonshine runners and their tuned up engines, the birth of NASCAR emerged with many of the moonshine runners as drivers. They didn’t make much money, and often had to dump any earnings from races back into their cars so they could get back to the racetrack as fast as possible. In early NASCAR days, it wasn’t uncommon for drivers to race 2-3 times per day, 3 days a week. Today, the sport has a routine schedule with 25-30 races per season, depending on the series. Read the rest of this entry »