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Moonshine: How Prohibition Gave Birth to NASCAR

It wasn’t gasoline—but moonshine—that fueled the growth of stock car racing in Appalachia and led to the rise of NASCAR. Even after Junior Johnson tore up dirt tracks across the South and notched five victories on the NASCAR circuit in 1955, stock car racing’s newest star continued to return home to the mountains of North Carolina to work in the family business—moonshining.

Johnson’s ancestors had been making moonshine since the days of the Whiskey Rebellion, and so many cases of hooch were packed inside Johnson’s house while he was growing up that he needed to climb over stacks of them just to reach his bed each night. When the authorities raided the family farm and arrested Johnson’s father in 1935, they confiscated more than 7,000 gallons of whiskey in what was then the largest inland seizure of illegal alcohol… read more >

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