FINAL EXAM RESEARCH PAPER

FINAL EXAM RESEARCH PAPER - Nicholas Oleson English 180I-A...

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Nicholas Oleson December 13, 2011 English 180I-A Final Research Paper White Lightening A Historical and Cultural Exploration of Moonshining and NASCAR’s Origins “Gentlemen, start your engines,” are four words that echo through racetracks and family televisions every weekend in the United States. The sport of stock car racing has become a staple means of entertainment for many American citizens through its largest sanctioning body, the Nation Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). In fact, major NASCAR cup races draw over 100,000 fans to the racetrack and are viewed on television in numbers that surge over ten million. Fans flock to NASCAR racetracks to witness the flash of vibrant racecars, the exhilarating roar of engines, and the occasional fiery crash. However, the NASCAR of modern America has a widely unknown and unexpected history. The origins of NASCAR can be attributed to one substance, infamous for its potency, moonshine. Apart from both being inherently Southern, the average person would not draw a connection between NASCAR and moonshine. The creation of a stock car racing association would have never come about or been prolonged in its formation, without the influence of moonshine. Moonshine and NASCAR’s untold history contains a wealth of knowledge and insights into the cultural aspects of the Southern United States. Moonshine is a form of alcohol brought to the United States by Scottish settlers in the Appalachian Mountains. The ingredients required to produce moonshine are relatively simple; however, the process is highly scientific. In order to create moonshine, one must only obtain four ingredients: corn, sugar, yeast, and water. However, the stills used to
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transform these ingredients into moonshine were ingenious makeshift contraptions. Essentially, the process of producing moonshine requires one to heat a mash of corn, yeast, and sugar until the alcohol evaporates to steam within the still. The steam travels to a section of the still knows as the thump keg, which separates any solid mash that may have entered the keg with the evaporated alcohol. Finally, the alcohol steam enters the warm box, where it runs through coiled tubing submerged in water. The warm box cools the evaporated alcohol back in to a liquid, and the clear substance that exits the spout of the warm box is the coveted moonshine. The production of moonshine in the United States has a history as long and rich as the country itself. In fact, accounts of individuals producing moonshine in the United States precede the American Revolution. The act of distilling whiskey has only been illegal during the period of the Prohibition; therefore, the production of the alcohol is not what makes moonshiners outlaws. Instead of operating a legal distillery, a process that requires one to pay government taxes, moonshiners chose to distill their potent beverage in secrecy. In order to insure the integrity of their secret operation, moonshining had to be conducted in isolated areas. Moonshiners hiked deep into the forests of the Appalachian
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2012 for the course POL 271 taught by Professor Yuvaci during the Fall '07 term at Miami University.

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FINAL EXAM RESEARCH PAPER - Nicholas Oleson English 180I-A...

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