(CNN) -- Here's a look at what you need to know about NASCAR which stands for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.
Facts: It is the main governing body for stock car racing in the U.S.
NASCAR is the creation of William H.G. (Bill) France, a stock car driver and gas station owner.
Stock cars are large, late model sedans that have been built especially for racing.
The stock car's large engine allows it to reach speeds of 200 miles per hour.
Most stock car races are held on oval asphalt tracks, the distance of which can vary from 5/8 of a mile to 2 2/3 mile. There are 36 races in the schedule.
NASCAR runs the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, and the Craftsman Truck Series.
Restrictor plates, which slow cars down, are used at Talladega and Daytona International speedways. The reason is due to the high banks found at both tracks. The first time restrictor plates were used was in 1971.
There has not been a death in NASCAR's top series since 2001 when Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500.
NASCAR has varying colored flags, with different meanings, to direct drivers: - Green: This flag is used to signal the beginning of the race and any restarts. - Yellow : The track is not clear, slow down and hold your position behind the pace car. This flag is used to signal an accident, debris caused by contact or mechanical failure, or weather-related issues. - Red: Cars must go to a designated location and stop immediately due to a safety issue. - White: There is one lap remaining in the race. - Checkered: The race is over.
Richard Petty has the most career wins of any racer with 200 wins. He is known as the "King" of stock -car racing.
Jimmie Johnson is the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to win five consecutive championships (2006-2010).
Dale Earnhardt earned 76 series wins and is the all-time race winner at Daytona International Speedway, with 29 wins in three different divisions. Earnhardt died in an accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001.
Jeff Gordon was the first driver in NASCAR history to exceed $4 million (1995) and $6 million (1997) in single-season earnings.
NASCAR History : Pre-1947- Early stock car races are held on local beaches and streets.
December 1947 - NASCAR is formed by amateur stock car driver and gas station owner William H.G. (Bill) France, Sr., who lived in Daytona Beach, Florida.
February 15, 1948 - The first NASCAR sanctioned race is held on Daytona's beach course. Red Byron, from Atlanta, wins the event.
February 21, 1948 - NASCAR is incorporated.
1950 - The Darlington Raceway opens in Darlington, South Carolina, and hosts the Southern 500, the first NASCAR race run on a paved road and not on a dirt track.
1959 - The Daytona 500 takes place on the newly opened Daytona International Speedway. The race is still one of NASCAR's top races.
1961 - ABC televises the Firecracker 250 from Daytona Beach.
January 10, 1972 - Bill France Sr., passes the leadership of NASCAR to his son Bill France, Jr.
1979 - The Daytona 500 becomes the first 500-mile race in to be telecast live in its entirety.
May 14, 1994 - Bill France, Jr. announces the creation of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, then titled the NASCAR SuperTruck Series.
February 18, 2001 - Winston-Cup champion Dale Earnhardt dies in an accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500.
September 2003 - Brian Z. France, son of Bill France, Jr. is named NASCAR's Chairman of the Board and CEO.
2004 - Nextel becomes the new series sponsor, replacing R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand after 33 years.
2004 - NASCAR introduces a new system for deciding a champion. After the 26th race of the season, the top 12 drivers compete for the championship. The driver who has the most points at the end of the final 10 races is the Cup Series champion.
2007 - It is announced that the premier series' name will be changed to the Sprint Cup Series and that Nationwide Insurance will replace Anheuser Busch as the main sponsor of NASCAR's No. 2 series.
March 4, 2013 - Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announces that the National Rifle Association will sponsor the NASCAR Sprint Cup event in Texas on April 13. The race will be called the NRA 500 and will be run during prime time.