The "Cup" series or as we here at RR like to remember it as the "Grand National" division is considered the TOP division of NASCAR and I would have to agree that it is. But there is a lot more to the history of stock car racing than just Cup. A lot of RR members have ties to the top series but I'll bet a lot more have ties to what started as the Sportsman Division.
NASCAR was founded in Dec. of 1947asa sanctioning body in the sport of stock car racing and it'sonly division in 1948 was called "Modified". These were pre-war coupes and coaches with highly modified engines. 1949 saw the introduction of two more divisions. About mid year the "Strictly Stock" division was created which would later become the "Sprint Cup" series. The other newgroup was called the "Sportsman Division". Bill France saw the Strictly Stock class as the future of NASCAR and set out to make it the premier series for stock car racing in the USA but it was built on the foundation of Modified and Sportsman division racing.
The Sportsman division was the result of owner's concerns over the rising cost of building a winning Modified car. In 1950 the first Sportsman cars looked a lot like a Modified car. The difference was the engines had to have stock heads, intake manifolds and could not run magnetos. They also had to run stock rear ends.
The Sportsman division proved to be very popular with car builders as they quickly became competetive with the Modifieds and held there own in combination events. From 1950 to 1983 Sportsman races were held at short tracksall over the country and by the early 60's the were the main event at most tracks. This speaks to the vast number of people involved in this division. The best drivers in the country competed in this division and while a few went on to fame and fortune in other series most were local heros to the fans who filled the grandstands every weekend. Todays NASCAR has its 50 Greatest Drivers, and they deserve the credit they get, but 50 would not come close to the list required to hold the Greatest Sportsman Drivers.
The division crownedstate Champions by holding local events that counted toward regional and state widepoints. The regional points were compiled to determine the National Champion until it became a touring division in 1982.
The Sportsman division is far from where it started and has had several name changes. Dirt tracks are gone and almost all of the short tracks. Most of the events are now held on super speedways.
1950-1967 Sportsman Division
1968-1981 Late Model Sportsman Division
1982-1983 Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Division
1984-1994 Busch Grand National Series
1995-2003 Busch Series, Grand National Division
2004-2007 Busch Series
2008-(2011) Nationwide Series
That's just an overview of a lot of history. Lets hear your part of it.
updated by @dennis-andrews: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM