During the prohibition era of the 1920s and early 1930s, the undercover business of whiskey running began to boom. The secret transportation quickly became more of a problem than making it. The common term for these runners was bootleggers, men who illegally ran whiskey from hidden stills to markets across the Southeast. Driving at high speeds at night, often with the police in pursuit, bootleggers were taking enormous risks.
As bootlegging boomed, the drivers began to race among themselves to see who had the fastest cars. Bootleggers raced on Sunday afternoons and then used the same car to haul whiskey on Sunday nights. Inevitably, people came to see the races, and racing cars became extremely popular in the backroads of the South.
Seizing on what he thought could become compelling sports entertainment, William H. G. "Bill" France a driver and promoter who owned a local gas station organized a race on the wide, firm sands of Daytona Beach, Florida, in the summer of 1938. The winner received such items as a bottle of rum, a box of cigars, and a case of motor oil (precursors to present-day sponsor involvement in the sport). France was a visionary; he realized for stock car racing to grow, an official organization had to exist to list champions, maintain statistics, and memorialize records and record holders.