It was a sport with a small, but passionate fan base. However, as the years have passed, NASCAR'S southern roots have taken a firm hold in cities north and west.
"In the last decade or so, the opportunities that NASCAR has had to get into major markets as most other sports were moving maybe from major markets to rural markets, we were moving from rural markets to major markets," says NASCAR President Michael Helton.
The major growth of NASCAR did not turn off the initial fan base, instead NASCAR utilized its new resources to make the sports more fan-friendly, making each Nextel Cup race, a tourist attraction.
"For the average working guy, this is a vacation, they come here and spend 4 or 5 days and pay the price and have a lot of fun," says NASCAR fan Grady Williams.
"Actually, I love it, I love the atmosphere. i grew up at the races, my dad is a huge race fan, so it's pretty much my heritage," says NASCAR lifer Kimber Vaughn.
"Fan friendly. I mean, they don't push you away. They invite you to see things such as the garage, the drivers are super with kids. The fan friendliness is what makes it, explains Willie Krebs.
And even with all the marketing, activities, and food, the main attraction remains the same.
"Most definitely the race, I love the noise, I love the action, and love the wrecks. You got to love it," exclaims Vaughn.
Millions of fans certainly do.