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Jim and I have been working on a DIY project that is taking much longer than expected.

So I'm late posting here...but read on.

“Think you know about or aren’t interested in moonshine? Dirt tracks? NASCAR’s birth? WWII? You will be when you see them through the eyes of the characters in Thunder and White Lightning.

Betty Hanacek, Georgia

 

 “The narrative was great. I learned a lot about NASCAR and its origin especially the fact that it originated from the escapades of moonshiners outrunning the feds.”

(Read more at https://www.freethorne.com/thunderwhitelightning/excerpts.html)

Tom Moriarty, New Jersey

 

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They came to Daytona from everywhere: New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts and, of course, from Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Bill France was wasting no time in setting up his new organization on a national basis.

At 1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, France called the meeting to order. “Gentlemen, we have the opportunity to set this up on a big scale. First, we need a name, I suggest the National Stock Car Racing Association.”

“Somebody’s already using that,” Red Vogt said. “How ‘bout the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, NAS-CAR. You can actually say it, not like a bunch of strung-out letters nobody can remember.” NASCAR was in.

“What about promoters who promise big money and then run off with the gate receipts?”

Contracts and enforcement were in.

Gus looked around and saw heads nodding. He wondered if he was the only one worried about where things might be headed.

“While we’re talking about money,” France said, “with NASCAR, you’ll get points for the number of races you enter, the number of wins, number of times you’re in the top five, or top ten and your total winnings. At the end of the season, you’ll get a bonus based on the number of points.”  The points system was in.

Ice cubs tinkled in glasses, overflowing ash trays were emptied and refilled and the group moved on to other topics. It was decided the first official race would be modified cars only because Detroit couldn’t make new cars fast enough. The modified race was in.

“What about the tracks?

“To be sanctioned by NASCAR,” France said, “they’ll have to abide by our rules. That may not sound like much right now, but believe me when we go national, the name NASCAR is gonna put the fear of God in a lot of folks.” France seemed to sense that he was losing his audience. “Let’s break for dinner. Steak and lobster, drinks, all on the house.”

When they reconvened the next morning, Red Vogt spoke up. “OK, we need one set of rules that all the tracks follow.” There was general agreement until someone asked, “Yeah, but who’s gonna make the rules?”

“We are,” France said. “We got three more days to work out the details, but once we approve the rules, they’re gonna apply to all NASCAR sanctioned races and they will be strictly enforced.” Rules and enforcement were in.

Red Byron raised his hand. “I know nobody wants to talk about this, but we got ourselves one dangerous sport. We need some safety precautions.” Safety was in.

“And,” Byron continued, “we ought to have a way to help out when one of us gets hurt.”

Insurance and compensation were in.

That all sounded good, but Gus saw their wide-open sport being squeezed into a very narrow space. And he saw France as the only person controlling that space.

At the end of four days a lawyer drew up the papers and NASCAR was founded as a private corporation with Bill France as president.

Some folks didn’t think the idea would fly at all. Others decided just to bide their time. Nevertheless, it had been four history-making days and most of the participants were proud of what they had accomplished.

Red Vogt, who had known Bill France a long time said, “You mark my words, the next thing you know, NASCAR is gonna belong to Bill France.”

And that is exactly what happened.

 

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