Hamby, who went on to win Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors as a car owner for Sterling Marlin in 1983, got his start in racing by building Baby Grand cars to sell to fellow competitors. "Back in those days you could get a car ready to race for about $10,000," recalls Hamby, "and we'd sell them complete, or put a rollcage in them or whatever. Some people were building their own, but very few were. I'd say we 'caged about all the cars and that's basically how I got started.

"We built everything: We built Datsuns; we built Opals. About anything that would come across the assembly line with a four-cylinder motor, we'd build it. We'd get them to hull the car and take out the seats and take everything out of it and bring it to us. Then we'd put rollcages and screw jacks in it. We'd go as far as they wanted us to go with it.

"It was just a cheap way of racing, and those boys that raced back in those days, they'd go get an old junk car for $100 and we'd put a rollcage in it for--I think I charged $825 for the rollcage and screw jacks--and all he had to do was fix up an old motor. Basically, if they did it themselves, they could go racing for $3,000 to $3,500, and you just can't do that stuff today."

NASCAR Sanctioning

After a couple of years of racing as an independent organization, Triplett and others realized the series needed a new direction and turned to NASCAR to become the sanctioning body.

"We approached NASCAR because I felt like we needed somebody who could give us a little bit more exposure," says Triplett. "We met with Pete Keller, who was over the Sportsman Division (now Busch Grand National) back then. We met with him at Hickory and then we made the trip, me and J.V. Reins and a couple of other guys, down to Daytona to the main office and verified it and made it official."

In 1975, the organization began its inaugural season as a NASCAR-sanctioned touring series, crowning North Wilkesboro native Dean Combs as its first official driving champion at year's end. Combs, who has remained active in the series as a team owner, is considered the "Richard Petty" of Dash racing, winning 60 races and five championships as a driver.

"When it first started, we didn't have templates," recalls Combs of that first season under the NASCAR sanction. "We didn't have anything but basically motor-tech, so there wasn't near as much to control as there is today. But (NASCAR) did a good job. We'd have, gosh, 40 cars show up for about every race, and it was competitive--real competitive. There weren't many times that people just ran off and left the field. Most of the time it was a race. It was a good show."