What Does NASCAR Stand For?

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If you are new to motorsport or fancy some true-red-blooded American racing you might have heard of NASCAR, but many people don’t know what NASCAR stands for.

In this article, we are going to discuss what does NASCAR stand for and interesting topics about the series.

Nascars racing on an embankment

What Does NASCAR Stand For? 

NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

It is an American privately-owned auto racing sanctioning body and operating company that is best known for stock car racing.

The Origin Of NASCAR

NASCAR has the coolest origin story in automotive racing. 

It all started in 1920 in the Prohibition era in the USA (When production, importation, and sale of alcoholic beverages were banned) when the bootleggers smuggled everything from rum to whiskey across the US.

These bootleggers needed cars that could carry a lot of products and be able to outrun and out-maneuver the police. 

So they started modifying small cars at the time installing big V8s in them and changing the suspension so they handled better and could carry the weight of the contraband.

In 1933 the repeal of Prohibition dried up a lot of the bootlegger’s business so they started running moonshine (untaxed liquor) to the south of the US.

The police force became harder and harder to evade especially with the invention of the two-way radio. So the previous bootlegger that is now moonshiners needed more performance and sneaky tactics.

Through the years the cars became faster and faster and by the late ’40s, the moonshiners started racing each other at venues for pride and profit. (It was the horse racing of the motorsport world.)

These races later became so popular they started pulling in crowds in the rural Southern United States.

On February 21, 1948, William France Sr. had a notion that people would enjoy watching these stock cars race and were willing to pay to watch it. 

He got a hold of other influential racers and promoters and formed NASCAR.

So in short these outlaws(moonshiners) started one of the biggest motorsports in the world.

Sanctioned Series Under NASCAR

There are in the USA alone 4 different series run and 3 series internationally.

Followed now are the US series and then the international series.

National Series

These are the biggest and most-watched series of NASCAR. The National Series consists of 4 series.

Cup Series

This is the creme of the crop the top dog series of NASCAR, the Formula 1 in the series.

These are also the fastest cars in all the series and the only series with fuel injection.

On Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, it won’t be uncommon to see these beasts pass the grandstands at over 200mph (322km/h).

The Cup Series cars run a 5.86 L (358 cu in) Pushrod V8 that can rev to 9800rpm!

On tracks shorter than 1 mile they produce 750HP (559kW) and on longer than 1-mile tracks it is reduced to 550hp (410kw).

The minimum weight without the driver and fuel is restricted at 3200 lb (1451 kg) and with the driver and fuel at 3400 lb (1542 kg).

The fuel injection is controlled by a McLaren Freescale TAG-400N ECU.

The manufacturers competing are:

  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Toyota

Xfinity Series

This series is ranked just under the Cup series like Formula 2 is under Formula 1.

The Xfinity series through the years changed the cars to become closer to the Cup Series cars, previously they ran V6 engines and a different body, while these days they are almost identical except the Cars Of Tomorrow which look like their production counterparts.

The vehicles in the series use 5.87L (358 cu in) Pushrod V8 developing in the restricted guise 450HP (335kW) and unrestricted between 650-700HP (485-522kW).

They still use the older style 5-lug steel wheels and carburetors to this day.

The weight restrictions are as follows, without the driver plus fuel should not be lower than 3200 lb (1451 kg), and with the driver and fuel 3400 lb (1542 kg).

The brands and models competing are:

  • Dodge Challenger R/T
  • Ford Mustang GT
  • Chevrolet Camaro SS
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Supra

Camping World Truck Series

This series is the only one that breaks away from the normal sedan-style body by using truck bodies.

This series can be seen as the introduction to competitive NASCAR like Formula 3 is to Formula 1.

Unlike Formula 3 in the truck series, old NASCAR veterans also drive and this makes it quite exciting to watch the new bloods going head-to-head with the legends.

The vehicles are almost identical to the Xfinity Series car just with different bodies.

The Vehicles used in this series use 5.87 L (358 cu in) Pushrod V8s that have 450HP (340kW) in restricted mode and unrestricted can push out between 650-700HP (480-520kW).

They still run carburetors still to this day.

Their minimum weight without driver and fuel should be 3200 lb (1451 kg) and with driver and fuel 3400 lb (1542 kg).

The brands and models competing are:

  • Ford F-150
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Toyota Tundra

ARCA Menards Series

This is the premier division of the Automobile Racing Club of America and is considered the semi-professional league of NASCAR.

They still race on dirt tracks in this series which is quite cool to watch.

This is also a weird class since there is quite a variation in engine sizes and rules on what engines can run with fuel injection or not.

The displacements are 350 (5.74) – 360 (5.9) – 396 cu in (6.49 L) Pushrod V8s and only the 396 Limor engine may run with fuel injection.

The power output should not exceed 700HP (520kW).

The minimum weight restrictions are 3300 lb (1496 kg)for the composite bodies and 3400lb (1542 kg) for the steel bodies without the driver.

Manufacturers competing are:

  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Toyota

International Series

These are for many people the unknown series run under the NASCAR name and there are 3 in total.

Pinty’s Series

This is actually the old Canadian CASCAR Super Series that was bought out by NASCAR in 2006.

The series is only run in Canada and runs on 10 different tracks across Canada.

They run the same engines and chassis as the Cup Series cars and are limited to 525HP (391kW).

The brands and models competing are:

  • Dodge Challenger
  • Ford Fusion
  • Chevrolet Camaro

Peak Mexico Series

Formerly known as the NASCAR Corona Series, you can guess why that name isn’t used anymore.

Weirdly enough they run their own engine for this series a 5.7 L (350 cu in) Pushrod V8 producing only 400HP (298kW).

They are also the lightest of all the series cars with the minimum weight without the driver at 2680 lb (1216 kg).

 Manufacturers competing are:

  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Toyota
  • Mazda

Wheelen Euro Series

Formerly known as Racecar Euro Series and Euro-Racecar Nascar Touring Series, this series is running only in Europe.

This series of NASCAR is the only one with a different chassis from the rest due to the FIA track rules in Europe that differs from that of normal NASCAR rules.

Interestingly enough it is also the only series with 4-speed sequential transmissions.

They use the same engine as the Mexican series the 5.7 L (350 cu in) Pushrod V8 that pushes out 400HP (298kW).

They are a tad heavier weighing 2701 lb (1225 kg).

Manufacturers that are competing are:

  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Shadow
  • Toyota
NASCAR pre-race ceremonial fly over at Las Vegas motor-speedway

Final Thoughts On What NASCAR Stands For

It might sound boring but the engineering alone can get any petrolhead’s attention, to think a pushrod V8 revving over 9000rpm is insane.

Hopefully, this article helped you understand what NASCAR is and also made you a fan of the sport, we need to support motorsport as much as we can.


Can a NASCAR Car Turn Right?

Yes, while most courses are ovals the car should also be set up to do road courses where there are left and right-hand turns.
Keep in mind the cars still have to be able to do corrections in their steering even on an oval so it will be very dangerous to build a race car to only go right.

Why Do NASCAR Drivers Wiggle Their Cars?

In yellow flag situations, you will see the drivers wiggle the cars from left to right, to get rid of debris building up on the tires that are cooling down.
Most of the debris is small pieces of rubber that are broken off the tires of the cars while driving around the track, these small pieces are known in the racing world as marbles.
The reason it’s called marbles is that it causes the cars to lose traction as if they are driving over real marbles and in safety car formation many of the drivers are forced to drive on the lines where the debris is laying.

Do Nascar Drivers Get a New Car Every Race?

No, the car itself will be raced multiple seasons but the engines get rebuilt after every race.
The chassis of the NASCAR is very durable and will only be replaced if the safety rules are changed or the car is fatigued or damaged.
The engine of a NASCAR is replaced after every season but rebuilt after every race or 500 miles (in the case of the Daytona 500).

How Much Does a NASCAR Engine Cost?

On average the newer Gen 6 NASCAR engines can cost around $115,000 to $135,000.
This is the initial cost of the engine but teams can spend up to $300,000 in a span of a week in rebuilding and tuning it.