Throwback Thursday: Happy 65th birthday to the NASCAR Cup Series!

Here's the start of the first-ever NASCAR Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup Series) race at Charlotte Speedway. The three-quarter mile dirt track hosted a starting field of 33 cars.

RacingOne/ISC Archives via Getty Images

Happy birthday to the NASCAR Cup Series!

On this day in 1949, the first NASCAR Strictly Stock Series race was held at the three-quarter mile Charlotte Speedway dirt track.

Bob Flock won the pole with a speed of 67.985 miles per hour. Glenn Dunnaway crossed the start/finish line first in the 200-lap event, but was disqualified for having illegal springs on his car. Jim Roper — in his No. 34 Mecklenburg Motors Lincoln — was awarded the checkered flag and pocketed a cool $2,000.

The series would undergo several name changes over the years, eventually becoming the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that we know and love today. 

Enjoy these classic pictures from June 19, 1949.

A huge crowd fills both the grandstands and the infield for the first-ever NASCAR Strictly Stock race at Charlotte Speedway.

The crowd was so large that some fans had to cross over the track before the race and watch the event from the infield.

Otis Martin (19) leads Red Byron (22).

Skimp Hersey of St. Augustine, FL, drove this 1947 Ford to an 18th place finish. 

Sara Christian finished 14th. Christian was one of NASCAR racing’s earliest and most successful female driving stars. The wife of driver Frank Christian, she actually posted a better 1949 Strictly Stock record than did her husband. Sara finished 13th in points to his 26th place tie.