Sept. 21: White Lightning and NASCAR
August 30, 2010
Delve into the history of stock car racing and examine the connection between the "business" of illegal whiskey making and the birth of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, better known by its acronym, NASCAR, at the first Catawba College Community Forum of the 2010-2011 academic year.
Whether you're a racing fan or not, join us on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in Tom Smith Auditorium of Ralph W. Ketner Hall for a look at this colorful bit of southern history. Admission, as always, is free.
The keynote speaker for the forum will be Dr. Dan Pierce, a professor of history and chair of the department of history at UNC-Asheville. He earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee in 1995. He is the author of two books, The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park (UT Press, 2000) and Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France (UNC Press, 2010).
Dr. Pierce writes:;
One of the most common issues that comes up when discussing the history of NASCAR is the connection between the sport and the illegal liquor industry. Most accounts of the sport's history include stories of bootleggers evading law enforcement one night and racing at the dirt track the next. While these stories are often true, they just scratch the surface of a sport whose foundations were literally built with the proceeds from the production and sale of moonshine and the sale of legally produced, but illegally sold, "red liquor." Indeed, not only did most of the early drivers in NASCAR's history have their first high-speed driving experience behind the wheel of a 1939 Flathead Ford V-8 loaded with 120 cases of illegal liquor, but the most prominent car owners, mechanics, promoters, and even track owners were deeply enmeshed in the production and/or distribution of white lightning.