33¢ Stock Car Racing
Celebrate the Century – 1950s
Issue Date: May 26, 1999
City: Springfield, MA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
America’s post-war atmosphere helped boost the popularity of stock car racing in the 1950s. The end of World War II sparked optimism in Americans. With the economy on an upswing, people had more money to spend on leisure activities. Better automobiles and improved highways made the trip to speedways easier. Tracks all over the country were drawing more drivers to race in front of bigger crowds.
At this time, racing lacked standardization, and rules were different from track to track. In 1947, Bill France Sr., of Daytona Beach, organized the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR). The first NASCAR-sanctioned race took place on Daytona’s beach course in 1948. Plans were soon under way to bring faster races to a larger audience. In 1950, the first asphalt super-speedway, Darlington Raceway, was built in South Carolina.
NASCAR’s first decade was one of tremendous growth. Drivers became heroes to thousands of devoted fans. A few of the more popular drivers of the 1950s were Lee Petty (whose son, Richard, would in later years be called “The King” of stock car racing), Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Herb Thomas, the Flock brothers, Bill Rexford, and Paul Goldsmith.