Welcome Home Big Bill. Your Final Resting Place Awaits

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IOctober 16, 2009

Bill France Sr. probably never imagined in his wildest dreams that the sport he started 60 years ago would grow into the multi-million dollar business that it is today.

Or that someday a multi-million dollar facility would be built to house the stars of his fledgling organization.

It all started back in 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida when Bill France Sr., about a dozen racers, and promoters gathered in Daytona Beach to organize a much disorganized sport.

A sport that was made up of hot rodding country folks, along with some of the most notorious moonshiners from that era.

Most of them were in it for bragging rights, but once they found out there was money to be made legally, all of a sudden every crooked businessman wanted to stick their hands in it.

To them it was a get-rich-quick scheme, and they took full advantage of it...until Bill France Sr. stepped in and put a stop to it.

“Big Bill” as he was known around his peers and business associates had a vision, and that vision was to keep the not-so-trustworthy promoters and track owners from taking the prize money and putting it into their own pockets.

France felt that the sport was headed downward unless someone took control of it and gave the drivers some sense of security that when the night ended, the prize money would be theirs and not in the pockets of some shady characters.

But little did France know, was that someday the sport that he organized would be one the most popular motorsports organizations in the world today, with fans from over 150 countries viewing on a weekly basis.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or NASCAR as it is known today, was the driving force that allowed each one of the many drivers, the opportunity to showcase their driving skills that at one time was unforeseen.

France watched as NASCAR made some tremendous strides, nothing like what we have seen in the last decade though.

But to France, progress was progress, even in the construction of his baby, "The Daytona International Speedway."

Just how proud would have France been to see the newest addition to the NASCAR family, with the Hall Of Fame ceremonies that just took place on Wednesday October, 14, with the official opening set for May 11, 2010?

To see how far NASCAR has come to the modern day fan, just ask some who have followed the sport for the past 25 or 30 years.

NASCAR has seen its share of ups and downs, and has come a long way with many witnessing history in the making since its birth.

And all of this was made possible because of one mans love for a sport, that at one time had a very grim future.

This was his baby, a baby that he treated with tender loving care.

And it was given to all of us who choose to treat it with the same respect on which he founded it.

If there was ever one event or announcement that the fans could look back on and say, “Justice is served.”

It would have been when Brian France stood up and announced that his grandpa, Big Bill France Sr. would be inducted with the inaugural class while being the first name that was announced.

NASCAR was built by one man’s dream.  From a beach in Daytona Florida to the walls of NASCAR headquarters, this reads one of Big Bill’s inspirational speeches.

On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of countless millions…Who when within the grasp of victory, sat and waited, and, waiting, died ."


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