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Many new NASCAR fans wonder what is "stock" about a Winston Cup stock car. Some are unsure what "stock" really means. Even long-time fans may not know where and how stock cars are built. And few new fans know the roots of stock car racing. Originally, "stock" meant unchanged from the auto-showroom floor: The racecar came straight from an automobile dealer's stock. For more than 100 years, auto manufacturers have seen the promotional benefit of stock-car racing: "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday." For just as long, spectators have enjoyed the fantasy that they could take their personal cars onto the track and compete with the pros. NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) was founded in 1947 and its Strictly Stock Division debuted soon afterward. But racing totally unmodified cars was an expensive, labor-intensive, cheater's paradise. Many production parts couldn't survive the strain of racing and crashing. Also, giant loopholes in the rules were opened by production tolerances of stock parts, as well as "special optional equipment" offered by the factories. So, NASCAR evolved away from "strictly stock." Heavy-duty truck parts were fitted to the racing coupes. Roll bars, designed to protect drivers when they tipped over on slow-speed quarter-mile dirt tracks, morphed into welded tube-steel space frames: birdcage-looking structures that took over the function of the stock frame. In the '50s, NASCAR cars still started life on a Detroit assembly line. By the late '60s, production pieces had dwindled to body sheetmetal, engine block, floorpan, and the core of few other parts, such as the rear axle and transmission. Today's Cup cars are "strictly race." A rear-wheel-drive, carbuereted-pushrod-V-8-powered, tube-framed, hand-built Cup car is more closely related to a '50s Indy car (or a current sprint car) than it is to a front-wheel-drive, fuel injected-overhead-cam-V-6-powered, stamped unibody, production-line Dodge, Chevy, Ford or Pontiac.