Darrell Waltrip helped launch the Modern Era in 1972,
making his first ever start at Talladega in this Mercury.
Photo: MSI/Nigel Kinrade
that NASCAR enjoys today can be traced back to 1972,
commonly referred to as the Modern Era in stock car racing.
But over the last three years NASCAR has seen a similarly
huge increase in both the fan base and the television
ratings, which leads us to ask, are we entering the New
The Modern Era
began in 1972 when three events took place that forever
changed the face of NASCAR. Possibly the biggest change was
when Bill France, Jr. was given control of the sport from
his father. The other changes was the adoption of the
current points system that awards consistency more than race
wins, and the shortening of the incredibly long schedule
down to around 30 events for the season.
Countless millions have discovered NASCAR in it's New
The last few
years have seen an enormous amount of changes in Winston Cup
racing. Within the last 2 1/2 seasons, we have seen a
flurry of changes to the cars, the tracks and or course, the
The changes that
have been made to the cars are probably more numerous to
mention all of them. We have seen NASCAR try numerous
aerodynamic packages on the superspeedways. They’ve also
tried several shock packages to try to slow the cars
down. Several safety devices have been added to the
interior of the cars to protect the drivers. And of course,
the two biggest rules to come down from the NASCAR
headquarters this season have been the one engine rule and
the very new 13 gallon fuel cell for Talladega and Daytona.
The tracks of
the circuit have seen a land slide of changes. The seating
capacity of the older tracks have nearly doubled, tripled,
or even quadrupled. The schedule has been extended to
include several new tracks, and new safety equipment has
been installed at several of the tracks, whether it is soft
walls or better catch fences.
Where ever the
sport goes in the next few years, you have to look back over
the last couple of seasons and think that NASCAR’s future
has never been brighter.
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