Image Gallery: NASCAR Racing
Image Gallery: NASCAR Racing

The US Auto Club governs open-wheel auto racing, sanctioning rules, car design and championship races. See more NASCAR pictures.

Jaime Squire/Getty Images for NASCAR

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Do you enjoy wa­tching races like the Indianapolis 500? Perhaps you've even competed in some form of auto racing yourself. If so, then you probably understand the need for strict rules and regulations to keep drivers and spectators safe. After all, automobile racing is dangerous.

There are many forms of automobile racing around the globe. Each form or division of the sport generally has its own sanctioning body that governs the rules and regulations for that division, especially here in the United States.

Unlike its European counterparts, the United States doesn't have one sanctioning racing body. All governing racing bodies belong to the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States and Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (ACCUS-FIA). The United States Auto Club (USAC) is just one of the groups involved in this association (which also include other big name racing association, such as NASCAR) [source: Encyclopedia Britannica].

Dating back to 1955, the USAC has governed some of the most popular racing divisions. Among them is the National Championship racing series, which includes the Indianapolis 500. In fact, the USAC was created to serve as the sanctioning body for open-wheel cars like the ones you see at that famous race.

Today, the USAC is the governing body for the following amateur and professional series:

  • The Silver Crown Series (professional)
  • National Sprint Car Series (professional)
  • Mopar Midget National Championship (professional)
  • Ford Focus Series (amateur)
  • .25 Midgets (amateur)

­­Not only does the USAC perform as a sanctioning body, but within the association is USAC Properties, which offers services focused solely on the design and testing of products in the automotive industry. Though the role of the USAC has changed since its formation, its focus has remained the same for more than 50 years.

In the next section, you'll get an overview of the mission of the USAC and learn about how one horrific event revealed the need for the racing reforms that led to the creation of the United States Auto Club.

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