EXIT 90 I-95n: Newton Grove To Devil’s Racetrack Road
It is hard to believe given today’s Daytona 500 but…From rude roads in the woods, NASCAR evolved. Upcoming is an old racetrack road. Back in the 1930’s, folks would gather here to watch souped up cars race. North Carolina claims it as part of their heritage. The Museum of NASCAR is located in Charlotte and well worth the visit. However, the roots of NASCAR are spread throughout the south — wherever there is a thirst for speed and liquor... Moonshine to be precise.
Liquor? Why is that?
The Origins of NASCAR lay with local moonshiners in Prohibition. These Shiners had super powered their cars to run hooch to customers all over the South.
During Prohibition in the 1920’s, police could not chase bootleggers across county lines. They had no authority except in their own jurisdictions. Also this tells you why State Troopers exist — not just to get you for speeding on the Interstate. Anyways, the Bootleggers and the moonshiners created super fast cars to outrun the cops — to get to the county line.
Prohibition ended, the cops stopped chasing moonshiners but the love for fast cars did not. And so NASCAR was born! (Incidentally cops, liquor, and fast cars are still tied up in neat bundles. Many of the biggest sponsors of NASCAR are liquor companies like Jack Daniels Whiskey and Budweiser Beer....but more on that at another roadspoke.Just watch out for Smokey as you transverse these parts.)
Possibly the greatest race car driver ever, North Carolina’s own Richard Petty was a Seven-time Daytona 500 champion. Called simply "The King", he tops NASCAR in wins with 200 poles and 127 wins in a season (27 in 1967). Richard Petty is a Tar Heel from the town of Randelman, just west of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill triangle.
Richard is a second generation driver. His father, Lee Petty, won the first Daytona 500 in 1959 and was also a three-time NASCAR champion. His son Kyle is also a well-known NASCAR driver. Sadly, Richard's grandson, Adam was killed in a practice run crash. That said, all 4 generations of Pettys were historically cautious about allowing their kids go into the family business. In fact, while young Richard worked in his father’s pit crew at age 12, his father did not allow him to race until he was 21.
Funny thing, cause he was already legal by then to sip some shine!
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