Bleecker Automotive Group, serving North Carolina since 1938 from Ft. Bragg / Fayetteville and Red Springs, Lumberton to Dunn, Benson, Newton Grove, Garner and Raleigh. New & used cars, trucks and commercial vehicles, vehicle financing, tires, automotive parts, repair and service. World Class Service with Small Town Savings!
The first self-propelled, land based vehicle is credited to French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who was born on February 26 in 1725. He was a French inventor who built the first working self-propelled land-based mechanical vehicle, the world’s first automobile.
Cugnot was born in Void-Vacon, Lorraine, France. He trained as a military engineer. In 1765 Cugnot was a captain in the French army who relied on two wheeled horse drawn fardiers to carry heavy equipment such as artillery and arms across long distances. He began experimenting with working models of steam-engine-powered vehicles for the French Army, intended for transporting cannons. He developed a way to turn the reciprocating motion of a steam piston into rotary motion by means of a ratchet system. Using this design he built a less than full scale “fardier à vapeur,” steam powered fardier, in 1769, which had three wheels. The third wheel was placed where horses normally would be secured to the wagon. The next year he built a full size version that was specified to be able to carry four tons and travel approximately 3.9 kmh (2.4 mph). It was designed to carry up to four passengers as well as its cargo. In 1771 a second full scale fardier is said to have ran into a wall after its driver lost control, thus resulting in the first recorded automobile accident. Cugnot’s 1770 fardier à vapeur, as preserved at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris.
The North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in conjunction with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and The Department of Commerce have joined together to to assist and educate veterans in learning about state and federal veteran benefits.
If you or someone you know is a veteran of any branch of the U.S. Military, please make sure they have seen this great resource showing health care, employment, housing and other services: http://www.nc4vets.com/
During the Prohibition era, Chicago was considered the center of illegal liquor activity. But the secluded stills of the rural South produced the life and legend most associated with moonshine, rising out of places such as Dawson County, Ga.; Cocke County, Tenn.; Franklin County, Va.; and Wilkes County, N.C.-once the self-proclaimed “Moonshine Capital of the World.”
North Carolina’s tradition of auto racing developed in the garages of bootleggers, particularly on the roads between North Wilkesboro and Charlotte. Legendary auto racers Junior Johnson and Curtis Turner were well-known bootleggers in the 1950s. Many of the winning entries at local Saturday night race events would be hauling illegal whiskey the following morning. Movies such as Thunder Road (1958), starring Robert Mitchum, and television series such as The Dukes of Hazzard offered both factual and fictional accounts of the exploits of moonshiners in the rural South.
NASCAR’s roots were laid in the southeastern United States, primarily in North Carolina. One reason for this involves the bright red clay of North Carolina’s Piedmont. When properly treated (churned, graded, packed and watered correctly), the clay creates a very smooth and durable natural racing surface.
July 4, 1952 race in Southand Speedway. Photo by Raleigh News & Observer. Compliments of the NC State Archives. Call no. NO_7-4-1952 06.
A former driver and part-time race promoter named Bill France realized how big racing could be if it was organized and had a uniform set of rules, meaning a car could race in any area of the country and still be within the rules. The sport needed a national point system and one official national champion. It also needed credibility–meaning guaranteed purses, and it needed cooperation among all sanctioning bodies. In December 1947, France summoned the sport’s best owners, drivers, mechanics and promoters to the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida for a four-day series of meetings (Fielden, 1987). The rules were drafted and cooperation among all attendees resulted in what we know as NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
A total of 52 races, all on dirt tracks, were held in NASCAR’s inaugural 1948 season. North Carolina speedways hosted 30 of those events at places like Greensboro, North Wilkesboro, Lexington, Wadesboro, Hillsborough, Elkin, Winston-Salem and Charlotte. The first Strictly Stock Division race, (now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), was held at Charlotte’s 3/4-mile dirt track in June 1949 (Year Book, 1950). North Carolina quickly became the center of the NASCAR world with its close proximity to the majority of the sports racing venues. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the premier racing division, has produced 28 different national champions with nine of them hailing from North Carolina, more than any other state (Media Guide, 2010). Buck Baker, the first champion with back-to-back titles; Lee Petty, the first driver to win three championships; Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt–with a series-high seven championships each and arguably the sport’s greatest legends, are all North Carolina natives.
From the earliest days it seems the best teams, drivers, and latest technology have come out of North Carolina. Ford Motor Co. established their official NASCAR racing team in the mid 1950s and located their facility in Charlotte and soon many of the sport’s biggest teams followed. Today nearly 90% of the teams competing in NASCAR’s top three series are based within a 90 mile radius of Charlotte, NC (Media Guide, 2010). NASCAR, although based in Daytona Beach, Fl., opened its new state of the art Research and Development (R&D) Center in Concord, N.C in 2003. Technology that is developed at the R&D Center is easily shared with the industry since the center is located near many of the team shops.
In 2005, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, did a study of motorsports financial impact on the state. It found that the industry employed over 27,000 people with an average salary of $71,000 and a yearly contribution of 5.9 billion dollars to the state economy. Charlotte Motor Speedway alone has an impact of over 400 million dollars annually (Connaughton and Madsen, 2006).
North Carolina’s role in stock car racing was a major factor in NASCAR selecting Charlotte as the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Opened in May 2010, this 150,000-square-foot facility honors the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue features artifacts and interactive exhibits designed to educate and entertain fans and non-fans. Each May five individuals are inducted into the Hall of Honor.