Ken Squier was inspired by an Australian race of all things when he coined the phrase, “The Great American Race” referring to the Daytona 500. He knew the biggest race of the year needed its own nickname and chose the phrase, similar to the Indy 500’s “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” moniker.
He says he chose the phrase due to NASCAR being made up of all American manufacturers and drivers at the time. So, with the sport currently being dominated by Toyota, is the moniker still relevant?
Maybe more than ever. Fans take issue with the fact that a Japanese company is in NASCAR at all, let alone having such success, but they should have no standing on the validity of the great American race designation.
For one, all of the stock cars are built in the US, no one is fooled by the stickers saying ‘Ford’ ‘Chevy’ or ‘Toyota’ on the cars, these are home grown race cars. Even if they were actual “stock” cars, the Toyota Camry is just as American as any other car in the series since it is made in Kentucky and Indiana. Ford can’t even say that about their own Fusion, since many of them are manufactured in Mexico.
So if that “Camry” sticker is giving fans second thoughts about Daytona’s “Great American” bona-fides, maybe they should turn their ire Ford’s way.