In the last few decades, NASCAR has taken stock car racing from a regional sport anchored in the south, to the national level. Though NASCAR has a reputation as a family-friendly organization, its history is inseparable from the moonshining and bootlegging of the prohibition era. And while the cars on today’s tracks have little in common with their mid-20th century predecessors, many of the sports traditions have endured. In this conversation, recorded as the second part of RTN Live in Charlotte, Bob and Ben talk with third-generation racer Kyle Petty and Dr. Dan Pierce of UNC-Asheville to find out more about the history of stock car racing and the changes that have transformed the sport in the 21st Century.
Kyle Petty spent three decades as a professional stock car racer and is currently an analyst for NASCAR on NBC (NBC Sports). He is also the founder of the charity Victory Junction, which enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing them with life-changing camping experiences at no cost to the children of their families. Victory Junction was inspired by Kyle’s son Adam, who tragically died in a racing accident in 2004.
Dan Pierce is Professor of History at UNC-Asheville and the author of Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France (UNC Press, 2010). His newest book Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World was published by UNC Press in October 2019.
Our show opens with an original song by Kyle Petty, performed live w/ David Childers and Bob Crawford.
This episode is the second of two episodes recorded live in Charlotte at the McGlohon Theater on January 24, 2020.