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Beginner's Guide to the Big NASCAR Events
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, better known by its acronym (NASCAR), is the preeminent governing body of stock-car racing in the United States. The cars are "stock cars," meaning they have the same body frame and style, and can only be modified according to strict standards. NASCAR hosts thousands of racing events across North America, and even hosts events overseas, such as in Japan and Australia. Racers in NASCAR compete in a series of races to gain points based on how they place. The most important series for a racer are the Sprint Cup (formerly the Winston Cup), the Nationwide Series, and/or the Camping World Truck Series for racing trucks. On a smaller level, NASCAR supervises NASCAR Local Racing, as well as the Whelen Modified and All-American Tours.
NASCAR emphasizes its traditions, and is proud to be a family-owned business. The current CEO, Brian France, is the grandson of NASCAR's founder, Bill France, Sr. Since NASCAR got its start with moonshiners evading revenue police in the mountains of North Carolina, NASCAR racing teams are still based there, primarily around Charlotte, the biggest city in NC and not far from the mountains. NASCAR itself is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida, but it maintains four offices around the Charlotte area, along with international offices in Toronto and Mexico City.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series was formerly known as the Busch Grand National Series. The series began in 1982, being sponsored by Anheuser-Busch. Nationwide Insurance replaced Busch as the sponsor of the race in 2007, and is NASCAR's official insurance provider.
The Nationwide Series is second to the Sprint Cup Series in terms of importance, but receives distinction by holding international races. However the series has fewer races than the Sprint Cup, and offers racers less prize money. The 2008 Nationwide Series champion was Clint Bower.
Recently drivers who race in the Sprint Cup have been also racing in the Nationwide Series. This poses a problem because a driver can race on a track in the Nationwide Series on Saturday, and turn around and race on the same track Sunday for the Sprint Cup. Some believe that this practice gives an unfair advantage to those Sprint Cup racers, who have earned the pejorative term of "bushwhackers," a backhanded nod to the Nationwide Series' beginnings. This has become such a problem the NASCAR officials are contemplating punishing those Sprint Cup drivers who also race in the Nationwide Series.
Camping World Truck Series
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a series growing in popularity; some drivers have gone on from the series to compete in the Sprint Cup Series. The 2008 series champion was Johnny Benson, his first ever series championship. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series began in 1994 as the "NASCAR SuperTruck Series presented by Craftsman," and renamed "NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series" in 1996.
NASCAR Corona Series
NASCAR's expansion into Mexico is the Desafï¿½o Corona, starting in 2004. It's a growing series sponsored by OCESA, a Mexican entertainment provider, and NASCAR Mexico. The Mexican market generally prefers open-car racing such as IndyCar, but is quickly warming up to stock car racing.
Regional racing series
The Whelen All-American Series is an international, regional proving ground for new racers. It consists of local tracks and points are determined on a weekly basis. There are four separate divisions, each determining a division champion; the point leader becoming the national champion. Many household names in NASCAR got their start including Clint Bowyer mentioned above, and legends such as Jimmy Spencer, Tony Stewart and the Bodine brothers, etc.
Car of Tomorrow
The Sprint Cup Series currently races a stock car called "Car of Tomorrow"or CoT, with a larger frame and boxier styling, which should make for a safer racing experience. The new design should also be cheaper to maintain while at the same time keep racers close. The CoT was adopted in 2008 for the Sprint Cup, and is scheduled to be introduced to the Nationwide Series in 2010.
The next NASCAR race is the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with tickeks ranging from $560 for two nights up to $1149 for three nights. Fans can stay at the nearby Marriott-Indianapolis East .is a deluxe hotel located approximately 20 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool, free parking, health club and exercise room, restaurant and lounge, cable TV, courtesy & more.
A friendly rivalry exists between Indy Car racing and NASCAR stock-car racing. English Indy racer Dan Wheldon shows off his sleek Indy Car to NASCAR big name Dale Earnhardt Jr. before the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Both drivers are sponsored in part by the US Army National Guard sponsors both racers.
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