Stock Car Racing Pioneer Raymond Parks Set the Standard During NASCAR’s Early Era

1949: NASCAR’s first “Super Team,” consisted of car owner Raymond Parks (L), mechanic Red Vogt (C) and driver Red Byron (R). The trio captured the first-ever NASCAR title, the 1948 Modified championship, then went on this year to take home the first NASCAR Cup championship.
Photo by ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

As one of early stock car racing’s most successful car owners, it is appropriate that Raymond Parks captured the first two championships offered by the fledgling National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, an organization Parks helped form in 1947.

Parks and his driver, Red Byron, won NASCAR’s modified title in 1948. The pair, along with mechanic Red Vogt, became the sanctioning body’s 1949 Strictly Stock champions – the initial season of what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

The Dawson County, Georgia, native and his racing team were gone from NASCAR after 1955, winning just twice. But Parks, who died in 2010 at the age of 96, was seen as one of the sport’s seminal figures and a visionary.

“He set the standard. Mr. Parks brought the sport class,” said NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty in a interview shortly after Parks’ death. “It took people like Mr. Parks to lay the foundation we’re living off of.

“And without him, we wouldn’t have the history we have and we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Parks’ contributions will be celebrated Jan. 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina, when he will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). His fellow inductees among the Hall’s Class of 2017 are Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin and Benny Parsons. Continue reading