NASCAR Birthplace at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona 65 Years Ago

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2012

Streamline Hotel 2011 Photo Credit Sandra MacWatters
Streamline Hotel 2011 Photo Credit Sandra MacWatters

Drivers wheeled their cars around dirt tracks where unscrupulous promoters would take their money and run. Bill France had seen enough when he gathered a group together at the Streamline Hotel to organize what became NASCAR.

On December 14, 1947, France gathered car owners, drivers and others to discuss how they could establish racing rules and guaranteed purses for the drivers.

The meeting took place at what is now known as "The Penthouse Club" atop the hotel on the main street of Daytona Beach.

The infamous meeting resulted in the official formation of NASCAR on February 21, 1948. Little did France know what the sport would become.

Young France moved from Washington D.C., his birthplace, to the much warmer climate of Daytona Beach in 1935. He endured the hard times of the Great Depression with little money.

Drivers were attempting to set land speed records on the Daytona Beach Road Course that incorporated the main road known as A1A. The course faltered when drivers headed to the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Local organizers attempted to run stock cars on the track: Rules were loose, the course was rough and scoring problems made payouts questionable.

France worked odd jobs until he opened his gas station/repair shop. He took over duties of promoting races at the beach course until World War II halted much of the racing. After the war, he promoted races at a few other Florida tracks.

It was then he realized there had to be more organization in auto racing, and he called the meeting at the Streamline Hotel.

The 65 years that have passed since that all important gathering have fortunately seen the involvement of his family, who have made the sport greater than France could have ever imagined.

There are those who may not agree with some of the policies enacted by Bill France Jr. or Brian France, the current chairman and CEO of NASCAR, but the fact is we have a sport that remains strong.

The Streamline Hotel remains open, looking much the way it did in 1947. It is known as the birthplace of NASCAR.

Those who are fans of the sport have reason to celebrate the 65th birthday of that meeting. We honor Bill France Sr. and those who organized NASCAR.