60th anniversary season begins

Celebration Of NASCAR's 60th Anniversary Season Begins At Speedweeks Feb. 15, 1948 event was NASCAR's first sanctioned race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2008) -- Prefaced by a landmark December 1947 organizational meeting across the street...

Celebration Of NASCAR's 60th Anniversary Season Begins At Speedweeks
Feb. 15, 1948 event was NASCAR's first sanctioned race

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2008) -- Prefaced by a landmark December 1947 organizational meeting across the street from the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach, Fla., NASCAR held its first sanctioned race two months later on a beach-road course that ran partially on the Atlantic shoreline.

The date was Feb. 15, 1948 -- 60 years ago today. Red Byron handled sand, surf and A1A to win that race and NASCAR was off and running, with a 52-race schedule featuring mainly Modifieds, with some Roadsters and "Strictly Stock" machines also in the mix. Byron won the first NASCAR championship that season.

This week, NASCAR racing has returned to the city where it all began, racing at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway tri-oval -- where the 50th running of the Daytona 500 will be held on Sunday.

Today marks the first focal point of this 60th anniversary season. There will be many others through 2008, serving as reminders of NASCAR's tradition-rich history.

* Martinsville Speedway was on that 1948 schedule, hosting its very first race on July 4. In 1949, Martinsville was also part of the first Strictly Stock schedule -- the precursor to what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Martinsville's unique half-mile track will again host two NASCAR Sprint Cup events this year.

* Racing in Charlotte, N.C. has been a staple of NASCAR's premier series since June 19, 1949, the date of the first Strictly Stock race. That event opened an eight-race slate that ended with Byron winning the championship.

Traditions are everywhere in NASCAR.

There are the traditions of racing at Darlington (dating to 1950), Richmond (1953) and Atlanta (1960).

Or Bristol (1961), Talladega (1969) and of course, Daytona, where racing moved off the beach in 1959 to Daytona International Speedway.

The 2008 season celebrates six decades worth of traditions -- starting with that wet and wild afternoon drivers spent on both sand and pavement, 60 years ago today.

-credit: nascar

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