Well before modified race cars plastered with sponsor logos took to oval tracks across the country, small, fast stock cars could be seen speeding around the Appalachian region carrying bootleg whiskey, attempting to evade police. Drivers would modify their cars to make them quick and nimble, maximizing speed as well as space to carry their precious cargo. The sport of “runnin’ shine” eventually evolved and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was officially founded in 1948 by Bill France, Sr. Today the sport is second to the NFL among professional sports franchises when it comes to television ratings in the United States.
The National Corvette Museum’s Exhibit Hall is hosting a special exhibit to pay homage to the sport, from its early roots of moonshine running, to today’s multi-billion dollar industry. The exhibit includes 14 cars from a 1940s Moonshine runner, to recent race winners. The line-up includes: #3 - Dale Earnhardt Wheaties Chevrolet 1997 Monte Carlo; #3 - Junior Johnson 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS; #6 - Mark Martin 1994 Valvoline Ford; #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS; #16 - Greg Biffle 2013 3M (1,000th NASCAR win for Ford); #17 - Darrell Waltrip Tide 1987 Monte Carlo; #24 - Jeff Gordon DuPont Fire & Flames Design, 2005 Monte Carlo; #27 - 1953 Corvette NASCAR; #43 - Richard Petty 1986/87 Pontiac Aero; #48 - Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Power of Pride Design 2003 Monte Carlo; #72 - Benny Parsons 1973 Chevelle, Winston Cup Winner; #88 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 2008 Impala SS; and #97 - Kurt Busch 2004 Nextel Championship Winning Taurus.
The special exhibit opened Friday, May 15 and runs through Sunday, September 13. It is included with regular Museum admission. To learn more about each car and see photos, visit www.nascarexhibit.org.