When it comes to stock car racing, there’s no event and no organization bigger than NASCAR. The National Association for Stock Car Racing sanctions over 1,500 car races every year, and this doesn’t only happen in its famous Daytona Beach location and headquarters. In fact, NASCAR has race events at over 100 racetracks in 48 states in the nation. You’ll also find NASCAR in Canada, Europe, and Mexico. It’s slowly taking over the world of racing, and in truth the race already has fans everywhere. NASCAR has become a part of culture for many Americans. It’s not just a seasonal event to follow each year; it’s a way of life. The NASCAR logo is an important part of such an iconic organization, and this article will take a look into the history of the NASCAR logo.
Brief history of NASCAR
NASCAR had interesting beginnings. The history of stock car racing itself is embedded into the history of the company, as history inspired the beginning of the organization. Stock car racing had its roots in bootlegging in the US during the Prohibition. Bootlegging is the illegal transport of alcoholic beverages, and cars in during the Prohibition era had to be incredibly fast. In fact, most cars back then were modified to be faster and to handle better even with cargo. Prohibition ended in 1933, and bootlegging slowly died out with that end. The byproduct of the laws and culture of this era is the production of faster and much improved cars, which people began racing for profit.
On March 1936—3 years after the repeal of Prohibition, a group of drivers gathered in Daytona Beach, Florida. Their goal was simple: to determine which car was the fastest car in the lot. Every driver brought their best vehicle—coupes, convertibles, hard tops, and sports cars were some of the 27 cars that were present that day. It was going to be a 250-mile race, but so many cars broke down after a short while that the event only lasted 10 miles. Only 10 cars survived those 10 miles, and one driver was declared the winner. That driver was Milt Marion, a racer turned car engineer. The driver that placed 5thwould later on change the course of racing history. That driver was Bill France, the man who started the groundwork for the establishment of NASCAR. France officially founded the organization on February 21, 1948. France’s son, Jim, took over control of the organization in 2018. Throughout its 72 years of existence, NASCAR and its logo has undergone a few changes. Here’s a list of the company’s logos from its founding to today.
1948 – 1955
The first NASCAR logo is very much reminiscent of the design ideals of the time. Two colors stand out from the logo—red and black. There are two black cars facing each other in opposition, and there are two red-checkered flags that form a crisscross pattern behind the black cars. Both these images signify racing and competing. The NASCAR logotype is central to the emblem, and the full name of the organization is also printed on various fonts just above the NASCAR insignia.
1955 – 1963
In 1955, the NASCAR logo drastically changed. A large yellow oval with black borders became the most central part of the logo. This yellow oval image looked to represent the racetrack. There are two opposing cars that are similar to the original emblem—except the cars are red instead of black. The NASCAR name is now written with a larger black font on the top part of the oval, and the word “international” is printed on the bottom half of the yellow oval. There’s also a black-checkered flag that can be partly seen on the back of the entire logo, and the full name of the organization is again printed on the central part of the whole logo.
1964 – 1975
The logo would again change in 1964. This time, the entire spelling out of the NASCAR name is eliminated. The logo is much more streamlined because of this change, but there was also a big color change that gave the logo an even simpler feel. Gone were the reds and yellows, and a light blue color replaced them. The blue stood beautifully against a backdrop of black and gray images, which were actually made up of the opposing cars, the checkered flags and horizontal lines that seem to suggest movement. The was replaced by the blue ribbons that carries the name NASCAR International, dividedly, on basic white sans serif font.
1976 – 2016
In 1976, the NASCAR logo would experience another drastic change that would be kept in place for about 40 years. The main feature of the logo became the logotype—a large white sans serif font that spells out the company name of NASCAR. There are 4 color blocks featured on this logo: blue, purple, red, and yellow. The color transition, along with the tilting of the letters and color blocks, are designed to emulate speed and forward movement as well. It’s important to note the diminishing size on the yellow blocks/lines, which is also designed to suggest speed. This logo is typically juxtaposed against a black rectangular background.
2017 – present
After 40 years of having the same logo, NASCAR decided it was time for an update. This time, the logotype is a black font with larger spaces in between the letters. There’s a slight more curvature on the letters, but there’s no other drastic change with the font. The change can mostly be seen on the color blocks, which now only included blue, red, and yellow. The color block follows a diminishing pattern from the right to the left, leaving the yellow block more as yellow lines. This pattern design represents forward movement as before. Although this new logo can be found on newer products, marketing, and cars, the previous 1976 logo is still the one used on lower NASCAR series.