Has it really been more than five years since this amazing finish at Darlington between Ricky Craven (32) and Kurt Busch? Those last few laps were old school. (RacingOne/Getty Images)
Why Stock Car History Online Is Here
By Rick Houston
Why should anyone care about the history of stock car racing?
That’s a good question.
Actually, there’s a verse in the Bible that could speak to this very situation. In His parable of the four soils, Jesus said in Luke 8:13, “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
Obviously, the passage refers to Christians. However, think about it for a second. Isn’t this where NASCAR happens to find itself today? The sport experienced unprecedented growth in the late 1990s, and while it was exciting at the time, the numbers have since fallen off rather dramatically.
Where we’ve been as a sport is a very large part of where we’re headed. Lee Petty built a foundation upon which Richard Petty raced, and Richard Petty added to the foundation upon which Kyle Petty raced. It’s a heritage that has been -- or should have been, at any rate -- passed down from generation to generation.
Why are Green Bay Packers fans Green Bay Packers fans? It’s not because the team happens to be doing well this season. No ... it’s because of the mystique of Bart Starr, Vince Lombardi, Paul Horning, Jerry Kramer and Willie Davis. It’s because Grandpa was a Packers fan, and so are Dad and most likely Mom. They’re fans because it’s in their blood.
Why care about the New York Yankees? Because of Babe Ruth ... and Lou Gehrig ... and Mickey Mantle ... and Yogi ... and Don Larsen ... and ... well ... the list has to end there. Go Sox!!!
Still, the point is there. To build an honest to goodness fanbase, the sport has to have a solid background and history. Building on anything other than the sport’s history is a critical mistake. What happens to tree without firm roots? It gets blown over at the first sign of a windstorm.
NASCAR says it has 75 million fans. Of those 75 million, however, how many are truly passionate about the sport? How many could identify Bobby, Donnie and Davey Allison in a photograph? Or David Pearson? Or Maurice Petty? How many simply sawBut the sport as the latest cool thing to do, where they sit in an air-conditioned suite, paying little to no attention to the race unfolding on the track?
In the end, it’s all about the foundation upon which this sport is built. Are we on solid ground? We’ll see. On this site, we’ll take a look at those who have come before and remember. We’ll honor the past, and hope for the future