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This bootleg runner's son was in the passenger seat during the early days of NASCAR

When you think of NASCAR, it's likely you think of massive crowds, cars speeding past at over 200 mph and the corporate logos splashed on just about everything.

But the origin of the stock car race goes back to the late 1920s and 30s during prohibition when drivers navigated red dirt tracks in souped up cars running illegal moonshine from state to state for distilleries.

Bill Blair Jr. is the son of Bill Blair, a legendary bootleg runner who also was a professional racer and was one of the original drivers who raced with Bill France, the founder of NASCAR.

"The first cars that he raced were liquor cars," Blair Jr. explained. "You haul liquor at night, and on the weekend, they'd have the race and you'd use your liquor car."

Bill Blair Jr. grew up working on race cars with his dad and knows the history of NASCAR like the back of his hand.

Alix Hines/CIRCA

Bill Blair Jr. grew up working on race cars with his dad and knows the history of NASCAR like the back of his hand.


Daniel Pierce, an author and history professor at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, said the automobile was a major development for people in the moonshine business because it made it easier to transport their product. Bootleggers, he explained, quickly developed high-speed driving skills to evade law enforcement.  MORE

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