It’s time to raise a few glasses of champagne and toast NASCAR.
Thursday marks the 65th anniversary of NASCAR’s first sanctioned Strictly Stock race – the foundation upon which today’s Sprint Cup Series was built.
It was on June 19, 1949 that the new sanctioning body held its first organized race on a dirt or paved racetrack (NASCAR held some races in 1948 in Daytona Beach, but those were on a beach road course).
The first Strictly Stock race was held at Charlotte Speedway, a .75-mile dirt track located on the east side of the Queen City, and was the precursor to what is today Charlotte Motor Speedway in suburban Concord.
Driving a 1949 Lincoln, Jim Roper, of Halstead, Kansas, won the inaugural 197-lap race, defeating 32 other drivers who entered, according to Racing-Reference.Info. Roper led 47 laps and earned $2,000 for taking the checkered flag.
The race also featured future NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee Petty, Buck Baker, Tim Flock and Herb Thomas. Others in the field included Curtis Turner, Red Byron, and the first woman to ever race in NASCAR, Sara Christian, who finished 14th.
Interestingly enough, Roper would make only one other career start in NASCAR, nearly two months later at Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsboro, North Carolina, where he finished 15th.
For more information on NASCAR’s first race, check out the great story by StockCar-World.com (you may have to translate the page from French to English, which can be easily accomplished using Google Translator).
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