The Stock Car: Modifications Make NASCAR Happen

Every car that you see on any given Sunday NASCAR Race was born a regular car that could be found in just about everyone’s driveway at one time or another. Even though the cars are factory-bought, by the time the race team is finished, there is only one part of that car that is stock and that’s the title.

Stock refers to the way the vehicle comes from the factory with no modification. This is the normal factory car. The race car is initially purchased as a stock car. Then it completely torn apart and rebuilt. This includes everything from the frame to the engine to the windows. By the time the team in the garage is finished with the factory stock car, there is nothing left of the car in its original state.

NASCAR was formed in 1948 and the stock car in its true form would have been the standard on the track during each race. However, during this post-war era there was a shortage of new cars. It was reasonable to assume that during this time many people would resent seeing perfectly good factory automobiles being damaged on the track while most of the population was driving beat up old cars. NASCAR modified its cars for the racetrack to appeal to its audience.

Originally, stock cars were used in their true form during NASCAR races after 1949. Bill France was NASCAR’s president at the time and he was drawn to the idea of racing cars that people really drove on the roads every day. The cars that raced on the track could segue right onto the road because they were built for the road and not modified for racing in particular. This was NASCAR’s “Strictly Stock Division” that gained a huge following.

Huge following aside, the Strictly Stock racecars had many problems and safety tops the list. The tires of standard stock cars are not suited for the high-speed races and there was a great risk of a blowout during the race. There were tell-tale signs that a blowout was about to happen. The white treads on the tires would show. Once this happened, the driver had only one or two laps to go before losing a tire.

Safety issues led to the inevitable modifications necessary even for the Strictly Stock Division. The first modifications include a trap door that the driver would use to look at the treads of his tires while driving. The trap door was located in the floorboard of the car and was opened with a chain. Another modification that was allowed was a steel reinforcing plate that kept the lug nuts from being pulled through the tire rims.

Today’s stock cars are true to the traditional factory car, but they have some modifications to maintain safety standards. Each stock car that is raced has standard roll bars. This addition to the vehicles was mandated in 1952. Also, the race cars use safety harnesses to secure the driver.

Even with the slight modifications, today’s stock cars capture the excitement and adventure of the races in the old days. These cars have a great appeal to many race car fans because they are one step closer to touching reality. After all, with just a few changes here and there, just about any car could grace the racetrack. It gives race fans a dream that could attained.

Car racing has always been an enjoyable spectacle and one of the best things that makes it thrilling is that racers are prepared to risk their lives for the sake of their fans, which is truly an admirable feat impossible to be partaken by common folks who always whine about lost car keys.

Corine

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Corine Jones is a writer, editor and web designer. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree of Journalism. She is currently the editorial manager of Coyote Rescue.

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