With less-than-legal beginnings in running moonshine during Prohibition, auto racing has evolved significantly over the last century.
Here's a look at some of the sport's most notable moments.
Early 1900s: Stock car racing gets its start during Prohibition, with moonshine runners attempting to flee federal tax agents.
Dec. 14, 1947: Bill France Sr. holds a meeting in Daytona Beach, Fla., to discuss the future of stock car racing and NASCAR is conceived.
Feb. 15, 1948: First NASCAR race is run in Daytona at the beach road course.
Feb. 21, 1948: NASCAR is incorporated
Sept. 4, 1950: The Southern 500, NASCAR's first 500-mile race, is held at Darlington Raceway.
June 13, 1954: NASCAR's first road race, the International 100, is held at Linden Airport in New Jersey
1958: Fireball Roberts is voted Professional Athlete of the Year by Florida sportswriters, the first time the honor goes to a race car driver.
Feb. 22, 1959: Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500 in front of 41,000 fans.
July 16, 1961: ABC Sports televises two hours of the Firecracker 250 from Daytona as part of its Wide World of Sports.
Sept. 13, 1962: Mamie Reynolds becomes the first winning car owner (with Fred Lorenzen at the wheel) at Augusta Speedway in Georgia.
Dec. 1, 1963: Wendell Scott is the first African-American to win a premier division NASCAR race at Jacksonville Speedway.
1964: Richard Petty wins the first of seven championships.
Sept. 14, 1969: Alabama International Speedway -- known today as Talladega Superspeedway -- opens.
March 24, 1970: Buddy Baker becomes the first driver to break 200 miles per hour.
Feb. 14, 1971: Motor Racing Network -- MRN -- broadcasts its first Daytona 500.
Jan. 10, 1972: Bill France Sr. hands leadership of NASCAR to his son, Bill France Jr.
1978: Jimmy Carter invites NASCAR drivers to the White House.
Nov. 18, 1979: Richard Petty wins his record seventh series championship.
1986: NASCAR renames its premiere series the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
April 30, 1987: Bill Elliott sets fastest speed record at 212.809 miles per hour at Talladega.
1989: Every race in the NASCAR Cup Series is televised.
Nov. 15, 1992: Richard Petty retires after 35 years of racing.
1994: Dale Earnhardt wins his seventh series title, matching Richard Petty's record.
1998: NASCAR celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Nov. 11, 1999: NASCAR signs partnerships with Fox, NBC and Turner Sports.
Feb. 18, 2001: Dale Earnhardt Sr. dies in a final lap crash at the Daytona 500.
June 19, 2003: NASCAR announces a 10-year deal with primary sponsor Nextel, beginning in 2004.
2004: The chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup is introduced, with the Top 10 drivers racing for the championship in the last 10 races of the season.
2004: NASCAR expands to Mexico City with a new Busch Series event for 2005.
March 25, 2007: The car of tomorrow debuts at the Nextel Cup Food City 500 in Bristol, Tenn.
May 2007: Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces that he will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of 2007.
June 7, 2007: Bill France Jr. dies at the age of 74 after many years of involvement in NASCAR.