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'1948: Proving Grounds' exhibit opens at NASCAR Hall of Fame

July 11, 2018

Celebrating 70 years of NASCAR, Hall of Fame exhibit opens on anniversary of first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Charlotte Speedway

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 11, 2018) – Opening on the 70th anniversary of the first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Charlotte Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s new limited-time exhibit “1948: Proving Grounds” shifts NASCAR into reverse. Seventy years ago, stock car racers took to the Daytona Beach-Road Course to compete in NASCAR’s first sanctioned race. The momentous run launched the sport’s inaugural season, one that proved to be both defining and prophetic. In this exhibit, guests return to a time of dirt tracks and prewar coupes, tracing motorsports history through rare artifacts (some of the Hall of Fame’s oldest), historic cars from the era, and straight-from-the-track stories of daring and grit.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to commemorate seven decades of our sport with this new exhibit '1948: Proving Grounds,'" said Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Winston Kelley. "Our exhibits team has done a tremendous job collaborating with legends from that first season and their families to tell some of the untold stories from NASCAR's beginnings."

The exhibit centers around five central themes with artifacts showcasing the year in review from formal sanctioning to the final championship:

  • The Green Flag is Waved: NASCAR founder Big Bill France's leadership was integral in creating the formal association; 33 original photos from the 1948 season are found in the exhibit.
  • Speed Demons: The car that was synonymous with that season was the 1939 Ford Coupe; Included in the exhibit are five period-correct cars.
  • Heroes and Hell-Raisers: The sport's first competitors included legends like Red Byron, Curtis Turner and the Flock brothers (Tim, Fonty and Bob); one original 1948 NASCAR competition license is found in the exhibit.
  • Down and Dirty: Dirt tracks, like Charlotte Speedway, held the first sanctioned races; the exhibit includes three race reports from June 20, 1948.
  • The Championship: The first season saw a 52-race schedule that came down to a battle between Fonty Flock and Red Byron; two Ford flathead V-8 engines are found in the exhibit.

Special guests to the exhibit opening today included Bill Huskins, former NASCAR driver in the 1948 season; Bill Blair Jr., son of former NASCAR driver Bill Blair; David Sosebee, son of former NASCAR driver Gober Sosebee; and Eddie Samples, son of former NASCAR driver Ed Samples.  Each contributed immense support as well as original artifacts to the exhibit.  Huskins, Blair Jr. and the younger Sosebee participated in a Q&A panel for media about NASCAR's first season.

"1948: Proving Grounds" will be open at the NASCAR Hall of Fame through January 2019.

General admission tickets to the NASCAR Hall of Fame can be purchased online at nascarhall.com or via Ticketmaster by calling 877-231-2010. Admission is $25 for adults, $22 for seniors with ID, $18 for military with ID, $18 for youth 8-12, $12 for youth 3-7, and free for members and children younger than 3. High-octane combo packages are also available. All prices include tax. Memberships start at $125. Additionally, the newly upgraded Gear Shop inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame features apparel, diecast replica cars and other memorabilia to commemorate your trip. For more details, visit nascarhall.com and follow @NASCARHall on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About the NASCAR Hall of Fame
Conveniently located in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, opened May 11, 2010, and includes artifacts, hands-on exhibits, a 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April 1 through Oct. 31 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. 1 through March 31. An attached parking garage is available on Brevard Street. The 5-acre site also includes a privately developed 19-story office tower and 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, highlighted by a 40,000-square-foot ballroom. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. For more information, visit nascarhall.com.