Yes indeed, NASCAR is the US sport that got its start with moonshine. Really. The runners who delivered the moonshine souped up their cars so they could outrun the federal agents who were out to bust them. And they were very proud of their accomplishments; so much so that they held informal races to determine who had the fastest car. And the races were so popular, that it was soon determined that they needed some uniform rules. So one driver — Big Bill France — organized a meeting of drivers, car owners and mechanics in the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, FL. And on December 14, 1947, the rules were adopted and NASCAR was born.
I first heard this story from Georgia Turner, when I took a press trip down to Daytona Beach, FL. But it was once again brought to my attention by Pam Butler, when I recently visited the Seventy Four Ranch B&B. It seems that her property has a bit of quirky moonshine history of its own.
Apparently the main house at the Seventy Four Ranch was the site of a grizzly prohibition era murder. At one time a revenuer and his two bootlegger sons lived there. Suffice it to say that this family was well beyond dysfunctional; so much so that dad took a bullet to the head on the front porch one day. And his son was the shooter. The bullet went right through him and lodged in the front porch of the old house — and if you look real carefully, you can still see it today.
It’s an interesting story, and just one of many reasons to add the Seventy Four Ranch to your vacation itinerary. So check it out on your next trip through Georgia — you’ll be glad you did!