Danger and NASCAR Essay

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Danger and NASCAR

“I had never even heard of Dale Earnhardt until he crashed into eternity, but now here I am writing a column about him” (King, 64). This reaction, recorded by Florence King in National Review, seems to be a common one since Earnhardt’s death in the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt was a driver in the Winston Cup circuit for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). Despite the fact that he is arguably the most popular NASCAR driver, many people did not know who he was until he died. It is sad to realize that sometimes it takes death to become recognized. However, Dale is not the only NASCAR driver who is becoming known from his death. In a span of nine months, Tony Roper, Adam Petty,
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Bill France was elected president, and his family is still involved today.

Junior Johnson, a NASCAR hero, is a true example of where the sport came from. He was raised in a moonshine family. Johnson's father taught him many values such as no stealing or lying. Although it seemed contradictory that they were breaking the law everyday with their business, apparently it was all they could do to survive. When a school friend named Millard Ashley was asked about Junior’s driving, he replied, “Junior? Hell, he’d run wide open all the time….Yeah, he was pretty bad about that. He was always blowing a head gasket or somethin” (Menzer, 61). Junior had a talent for making his cars faster with better handling than those of the law’s. Outrunning law enforcement officers became a means for the drivers to learn the knowledge needed in increasing a car's, or racecar's performance.

NASCAR has come a long way since those days in the 1940's.

"A 1999 survey of sports sponsors by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal ranked NASCAR No. 1 in licensing, promotional opportunities, retail tie-ins, client endorsements and media coverage--ahead of the NFL, NBA and Professional Golf Association" (Advertising Age, Sc 1).

In its beginnings, the word “Stock” in “Stockcar” was literal. It meant that the racecar was the car that you drove on the street. Lee Petty and his son Richard drove to the first Winston Cup race (1949)

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