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NASCAR Fast Facts

Here's a look at NASCAR, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.

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(CNN) — Here's a look at NASCAR, the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.

Facts: It is the main governing body for stock car racing in the United States.

NASCAR was created by William H.G. (Bill) France, a stock car driver and gas station owner.

Stock cars are large, late model sedans that have been built especially for racing.

The stock car's large engine allows it to reach speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour.

Most stock car races are held on oval asphalt tracks. The distance of race tracks can vary from 1/8 of a mile to 2 3/5 of a mile.

NASCAR runs three national series: Monster Energy Series, XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series, which is for trucks only.

Restrictor plates, which slow cars down, are used at Talladega and Daytona International Speedways. They were installed because of the high banks found at both tracks.

NASCAR has varying colored flags, with different meanings, to direct drivers: - Green: Signals the beginning of the race and any restarts. - Yellow: Signals an accident or debris caused by contact or mechanical failure, or weather-related issues. The track is not clear. Slow down and hold your position behind the pace car. - Red: Cars must go to a designated location and stop immediately due to a safety issue. - White: There is one lap remaining in the race. - Black and White Checkered: The race is over!

Some of the top races include the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, Bojangles' Southern 500, and the Brickyard 400.

Statistics: Richard Petty has the most career wins of any racer, with 200 wins. He is known as the "King" of stock-car racing.

Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jimmie Johnson are tied for the most Cup championships, with seven each. Johnson is the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to win five consecutive championships (2006-2010).

Dale Earnhardt Sr. earned 76 Cup Series wins and is the all-time race winner at Daytona International Speedway, with 34 wins. Earnhardt died in an accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001. There has not been a death in NASCAR's top series since then.

NASCAR History: Pre-1947 - Early stock car races are held on local beaches and streets.

December 1947 - NASCAR is formed by amateur stock car driver and gas station owner William H.G. (Bill) France Sr. from Daytona Beach, Florida.

February 15, 1948 - The first NASCAR sanctioned race is held on Daytona's beach course. Red Byron, from Atlanta, wins the event.

February 21, 1948 - NASCAR is incorporated.

1950 - The Darlington Raceway opens in Darlington, South Carolina, and hosts the Southern 500, the first NASCAR race run on a paved road.

1959 - The Daytona 500 takes place on the newly opened Daytona International Speedway.

1961 - ABC televises the Firecracker 250 from Daytona Beach.

January 10, 1972 - Bill France Sr., passes the leadership of NASCAR to his son Bill France Jr.

1979 - The Daytona 500 becomes the first 500-mile race to be televised live in its entirety.

May 14, 1994 - Bill France Jr. announces the creation of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, then called the NASCAR SuperTruck Series.

February 18, 2001 - Dale Earnhardt dies in an accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500.

September 2003 - Brian Z. France, son of Bill France Jr., is named NASCAR's Chairman of the Board and CEO.

2004 - Nextel becomes the new Cup Series sponsor, replacing R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand after 33 years.

2004 - NASCAR introduces a new system for deciding a champion. After a 26 race regular season, the top drivers compete for the championship. The driver who has the most points at the end of the final 10 races is the Cup Series champion.

2007 - NASCAR announces that premier series' name will change from the Nextel Cup Series to the Sprint Cup Series and that Nationwide Insurance will replace Anheuser Busch as the main sponsor of NASCAR's number two series.

December 2007 -Sears/Craftsman announces that it will end its sponsorship of the NASCAR Truck Series after 13 years.

October 24, 2008 - NASCAR announces that Camping World will replace Craftsman as the sponsor of the Truck Series. The renamed Camping World Truck Series begins in 2009.

2010 - Sprint becomes the new Cup Series sponsor, replacing Nextel.

March 4, 2013 - Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announces that the National Rifle Association will sponsor the NASCAR Sprint Cup event in Texas on April 13. The race will be called the NRA 500 and will be run during prime time.

January 22, 2014 - NASCAR makes changes to its post-season process: 16 teams instead of 12 will now compete in a 10 race elimination playoff. Four drivers will compete in the final championship race. The first to finish wins the Sprint Cup.

September 3, 2014 - NASCAR announces that the Nationwide Series will have a new sponsor beginning January 1, 2015, Comcast's XFINITY.

December 16, 2014 - Sprint announces that it will end its sponsorship of NASCAR after the 2016 racing season. The company had a 13-year partnership with NASCAR.

September 19, 2016 - The CEO of a company called Diversity Motorsports sues NASCAR for racial discrimination, claiming that the organization declined to sanction a team affiliated with African American comedian Steve Harvey. NASCAR releases a statement declaring that the claim of discrimination has no merit and the plaintiff is seeking publicity. Harvey says that he doesn't want to have anything to do with the $500 million suit during an episode of his radio show.

December 1, 2016 - NASCAR announces that it has signed a multi-year deal with Monster Energy, which replaces Sprint as entitlement sponsor. NASCAR's top series of races will be named after the beverage company.

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