Why do NASCAR drivers live in North Carolina? When you start checking where all the big-name racers live, you will find that most of them live in one state and one specific area. Lake Norman is where many racing team members hang their hats. If they are not currently residing there, they probably did at one time in their lives. But why? What is so special about North Carolina?
The main reason that NASCAR drivers live in North Carolina is due to the location of the job that they have been hired to do. The drivers have to jet around to each race location, but the main shop where they train and help work on their cars is in the state, close to Charlotte, where the NASCAR Hall of Fame is built.
The reality of the situation is that there are a couple of main reasons that NASCAR drivers choose to live in the birthplace of the sport. It is not just because the place they train in is close by. Nor is it because the sport was born in the area. It is a combination of both. Let’s learn a little more about this and find out why these two points are so crucial to the NASCAR teams.
Why NASCAR Drivers Call North Carolina Home
North Carolina is the home of NASCAR for several reasons. It may seem strange to think that many drivers have chosen to settle down in the state where it all began, but there are some good reasons behind it. Lake Norman, home to many racing drivers, is only 39.4 miles from Charlotte, the sport’s biggest central hub. Let’s dig in to why this is the case.
The Roots of NASCAR Start In North Carolina
The Appalachian Mountains are famous for many reasons, not just for NASCAR. They are the oldest mountain chain in the United States, offering up coal and other minerals to help the development of the settlers coming into the nation from overseas. This area is where the race car was born, but not for the reason that you may think.
Moonshiners began to create more stills deep within the mountains, away from any prying eyes that could turn them in to the authorities during the prohibition. Their problem was a way to transport the illegal alcohol after it was ready for consumption. The cars during the time period could handle the job, but they were slow and had very poor performance on the roads between the hidden stills and the buyers.
The first high-performance vehicle was created out of a need for speed and performance. The bootleggers needed to transport the goods safely, with speed to outrun any law enforcement officers they met along the way. If they were too slow, the entire batch of moonshine would be confiscated, and the driver and occupants would spend some time in jail.
Once the prohibition ended, the need for moonshiners and bootleggers vanished. The fast cars sat around until the drivers decided to put them to good use. NASCAR was born and has grown to become one of the biggest sports in America and beyond since its infancy.
|1920||The prohibition was put into place.|
|1920||Moonshiners that created legal alcohol that was part of Southern heritage became illegal to produce, transport, and consume.|
|1933||The prohibition was repelled and lifted.|
|1933||The Ford Flathead V8 was created, giving the bootleggers a way to boost speed and performance in the vehicles they used to continue running moonshine|
|1949||The first official NASCAR race was held in Charlotte, North Carolina.|
|1960||Moonshine began losing popularity, giving way to more legal alcoholic beverages.|
The timeline shows that the end of the prohibition shifted the majority’s need for bootlegging to only one group, the moonshiners. With so many fast cars, the drivers felt the need to compete with the drivers, and the vehicles, of their one-time rivals. Racing became a form of public entertainment, which went national in 1949.
North Carolina Is the Home of The Top 5 Racing Shops
It is common to see a friend or family member move to a different city or state to get the good-paying job they want. It makes perfect sense to live by your work; otherwise, you would spend much of your day traveling, and the extra money you make goes for transportation costs. The same goes for NASCAR.
The drivers offered full-time driving jobs chose to relocate themselves and their families closer to the shops. They need to be able to test new ideas and use simulators to try and get the best performance that they can out of the cars.
Granted, that is a job for the technicians, but the driver must be able to test out the changes on the track or inside the shop with the help of innovative technology.
If you have been watching racing, you know who the top racing groups are. Names that you know from the races of the past. Drivers are now owners of their own cars, and they are owners that hire the best drivers they can for the cars they build. Let’s check out how many of the top six shops are located in North Carolina.
- JR Motorsports – Mooresville, NC
- Dale Earnhardt INC – Mooresville, NC
- Penske Racing – Mooresville, NC
- Hendrick Motorsports – Concord, NC
- Joe Gibbs Racing – Huntersville, NC
- Waltrip Racing World – Cornelius, NC
You guessed it. All six top racing teams are centered in North Carolina, close to Charlotte, where the original track is. It is one of the most apparent reasons why NASCAR drivers live in this state, even though the majority of the racers still call California their hometown.
NASCAR was born from the ashes of the moonshine stills and lives on as one of the most watched sports in the nation. It is crazy to think that such a popular sport formed through illegal activities that had ties with some of the most notorious gangsters of all time.
People like Al Capone became very rich during the prohibition era. Corrupt cops and gobs of money kept the law at bay while the lightning-fast bootleggers raced across the treacherous backroads of the Appalachian Mountains.
The home of the sport was in North Carolina, where the home of racing stays to this day, which is why so many NASCAR drivers live in North Carolina