automobile racing

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automobile racing,

sport in which specially designed or modified automobiles race on any of various courses. Automobile racing originated in France in 1894 and appeared in the United States the following year. It is now one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. Of many different types of competition, the most prestigious have traditionally involved Formula OneFormula One
(F1), type of racecar used in Grand Prix automobile racing. Capable of speeds exceeding 230 mph (370 kph), the technologically sophisticated F1 cars are low-slung, open-wheeled, single-seat vehicles with powerful mid-engines, air foils, electronic aids, special
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 (Grand Prix) or "Indy-type" automobiles, both cars with low-slung bodies capable of speeds greater than 230 mph (370 kph). Their design and maintenance require full-time racing teams and large corporate investment. A number of countries sponsor Grand Prix races, which contribute to the designation of a world champion driver. The Grands Prix of Monaco, France, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia are among the best known.

America's famous Indianapolis 500 (begun 1911) is the best known of a series of races in which drivers compete for a series championship, organized by the United States Auto Club (USAC) and overseen from 1979 to 1996 by Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). In 1996 CART began a competing series, leaving the Indy 500 and several other races in the hands of the Indy Racing League (IRL). The Indianapolis 500 attracts over 500,000 spectators annually, making it the nation's largest paid-admission sporting event. Many top drivers compete in both Formula One and Indy-type races, and some also drive in the two major endurance races for sports cars, the 24 Hours at Daytona (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and the 24 Hours at LeMans (France; officially the LeMans Grand Prix d'Endurance, held since 1923).

Enormously popular in the United States are the races of the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing (NASCARNASCAR
(National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), organization that sanctions American stock-car races, est. 1948. It held its first race in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1948 and began its first and most important series of races (known as the Grand National Division from
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) circuit, in which standard, or stock, cars with special equipment race at speeds that can average close to 200 mph (320 kph). The major races of the NASCAR circuit include the Daytona 500 and the Talladega 500. Midget racing originated in the 1940s among enthusiasts unable to afford Indy cars. Originally held on dirt tracks at fairgrounds, midget races have yielded their popularity to sprint cars, larger versions of the midgets that travel half-mile tracks at 100 mph (161 kph) or more. Drag racing, which grew out of the often illegal sprints held among American teenagers during the 1950s, involves acceleration tests among extremely powerful cars over .25-mi (.4025-km) courses at speeds exceeding 300 mph (483 kph). Hill climbing, done by cars of various classes against the clock, is popular in Europe, but has never attained more than regional popularity in the United States.


See R. Cutter and B. Fendell, Encyclopedia of Auto Racing (1973); A. E. Brown, The History of the American Speedway (1984).

References in periodicals archive ?
Eoe1/4A[yen] Where we really do well is our ads on the Super Bowl, on automobile racing because it s exciting .
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A two-year veteran of the British Automobile Racing ClubAAEs (BARC) Formula Renault championship, which consists of 12 races on major tracks across the UK, Ahmad is determined to try for a good result.
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But IndyCar is the creme de la creme of our automobile racing in the States.
Some historic Readville and Lowell automobile racing photographs, estimated at $300 to $650, sold for $119.
Through relationships with the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA), United States Auto Club, and DIRT Motorsports, students work with race teams from these sanctioning bodies each week, giving them the opportunity to apply what they team in the classroom.
IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS, March is a month of transition, as the staples of early winter--football's college bowl games and Super Bowl--give way to, among other things, ice skating, hockey, and, at long last, baseball, the latter's spring training season signaling that summer is close (well, kind of) behind, a time when the national pastime, along with swimming, surfing, cycling, horseback riding, polo, automobile racing, and a whole host of other warm-weather activities finally takes center stage.
13) For more information on continued racing at the salt flats see Jessie Embry, 'The last amateur sport: automobile racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats', Americana: the Journal of American Popular Culture 2, 2 (2003), www.
Defining folklife "socially as tradition-centered communities, locations, or groups and culturally as the skills, symbols, identities, and customs that characterize such groups," this four-volume encyclopedia contains approximately 270 essays on topics in American folklife as diverse as Croatian communities, ethnography and fieldwork, fans of automobile racing, the Internet, Little Havana, men and masculinity, fans of heavy metal, polka, snake-handling sects, Wiccans, and zydeco.
2) This was a common rationale for automobile racing, and at the time was congruent with the mission of the AAA.