Beyond Tourism: America's Yesteryear

A blog of American History

Gentlemen! Start Your Engines: The race that put Nascar on the Map March 9, 2012

This post is part of a blogchain. The theme was rain and I thought it would be a good opportunity to write a little bit about NASCAR. So please spread some blog love and leave a comment and read the other posts in this chain. As the people who are after me post I’ll keep updating this post to reflect that. So don’t forget to come back.

orion_mk3 – (link to this month’s post)
Bogna – (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – (link to this month’s post)
Nissie – (link to this month’s post)
Lyra Jean – <— ME!
Domoviye – (link to this month’s post)
magicmint – (link to this month’s post)
areteus – (link to this month’s post)
julzperri – (link to this month’s post)
hillaryjacques – (link to this month’s post)
AFord – (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – (link to this month’s post)
J. W. Alden – (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – (link to this month’s post)

Now on to the Post:

If you are a NASCAR fan you know that this past Daytona 500 was a bit disappointing due to the rain. For the first time ever it was cancelled and rescheduled for the next day. The next day was still wet but they kept on and finished the race.

If you have been a NASCAR fan for awhile you’ll remember the 1979 Daytona 500 when according to ESPN, ” It’s a rainy, sloppy day in Florida while most of the East Coast is sacked by snowstorms and millions of people without anything else to watch one month after football and two months before baseball fall in love with NASCAR.” Why is this significant it’s because this was first time a NASCAR race was televised live from flag to flag.

Wreck at turn three between Yarborough and Allison

But it wasn’t just being forced to stay at home with nothing else to watch that made the race popular. According to the Daytona 500 Speedway , “On the final lap, Yarborough pulled out to pass Allison on the Superstretch. The two banged fenders so hard they crashed into the Turn 3 outside wall before sliding down to the apron.” This later on turned into a fight at the end of the race.

Bobby Allison, left, and Cale Yarborough fight after the 1979 Daytona 500

The wreck happened in turn three. While it was Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough  who wrecked at turn three near the end of the race it was Bobby and Cale who got in the fight at the end of race. It was Bobby who got the brunt of the damage when he got caught up in the wreck. The fight was caught on live television.

According to ESPN,  “An estimated 16 million people watched the race, a number that jumped to nearly 20 million over the closing laps. CBS won an Emmy for the broadcast, televised the Daytona 500 until 2000 and showed a fledgling cable network called ESPN the value of the racing business.”

Who won the race that day? None other than the great Richard Petty.

Richard Petty 1979


18 Responses to “Gentlemen! Start Your Engines: The race that put Nascar on the Map”

  1. I read about all the people who had spent money and had to go home because of the rain. That’s horrible. I know the cost of making trips to see things for the sport. The hotel costs, food costs and, guess what….? It costs money to crate your animals that you are not able to bring along. 😦

    I feel for those people who missed out.

    Great post as a reminder the power of the rain!

  2. Lyra Says:

    That’s the problem with outside sports. Especially racing. It’s dangerous enough at Daytona where they can reach speeds up to 200 mph do you really want to see them race on a wet track?

  3. I have no knowledge of NASCAR whatsoever (other than it’s a sport where people race each other around the track in sleek fast racecars, sometimes to horrifying results) but I never even thought about how rain could affect the sport, or that the stakes would be higher than if it had been just a football / soccer game!

    • Lyra Says:

      Recently, they have tried to make it so safe that the drivers ended up not really racing anymore and for awhile it was just watching them go around in a circle. They weren’t even trying to pass each other. They have made changes to make it more interesting to watch.

      A lot of it has to do with the points system. You used to get more points for the laps you finish and not for winning the race. I think they have changed this so now drivers actually want to win the race.

  4. […] (link to this month’s post) Lyra Jean – (link to this month’s post) Domoviye – You are here. magicmint – (link to this […]

  5. Dan Clarke Says:

    This is why I watch my sports at home. Cheaper, more relaxing, better view, and if it gets rained out I can just go play on my computer.

  6. Sports are often victim to the elements. Though when I was at school we had to play on regardless of the weather 🙂

  7. Oh, what a fun little history. I had no idea, though I did get to “hear” people on twitter bemoaning the rain for this last Daytona 500. I’m always amazed at the breadth of the NASCAR fan base. 🙂

    • Lyra Says:

      My step-father is a NASCAR fan which is what piqued my interest. He dislikes Jeff Gordon so much that he won’t even carry 24 cents in his pocket.

  8. J.W. Alden Says:

    One of the many reasons I’m a combat sports fan! Most of our events take place indoors!

    There have been exceptions, though. I once saw an MMA event that took place outdoors, and sure enough it began to pour down rain. Amazingly, the fights went on. Fighters and referee alike were slipping around on the mat, falling on their butts every time they threw a kick. It was a crazy sight (and dangerous)!

    • Lyra Says:

      My husband and I love watching MMA. I have a friend who wanted to be an MMA fighter but he ended up being a nurse instead. I find it really funny.

  9. alexp01 Says:

    Working in a university town as I do, it’s de rigueur to criticize Nascar as being worthless and stupid and strictly for the hoi polloi (and then wonder why people are loath to listen to them on social issues, natch). As someone who feels it’s every bit a sport as golf, I’m glad to see you posting about it loud and proud.

  10. Julz Says:

    Hi there! Great post this month 🙂 I really enjoyed reading your piece of writing 🙂

    I enjoy reading your blog, so I tagged you in my ‘lucky 7 meme’! If you’re not too familiar with it, feel free to head on over to my blog post that explains it a little better;

    I realise I’m blindsiding you so feel free to not commit if you’re swamped.


  11. Randi Lee Says:

    This was very enlightening and well written. I’m not really a NASCAR fan but you definitely pulled me in here. Well done!



  12. NASCAR has been slowly filtering into my house because my middle son recently took interest in it. But I have just so many brain cells to use that I usually just shake my head like I’m listening to him.

  13. […] (link to this month’s post) Lyra Jean – (link to this month’s post) Domoviye – (link to this month’s post) magicmint – […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s