50 YEARS OF IMSA
With the politics, egos, in-fighting and changing business conditions that sanctioning bodies face, surviving 50 years is an impressive accomplishment.
The International Motor Sports Ass’n celebrated that milestone this year after the legendary sports car organization sanctioned its first race on Oct. 19, 1969.
IMSA was founded by John and Peggy Bishop and NASCAR’s “Big Bill” France. Bishop was a former executive director of the Sports Car Club of America who wanted sports car racing to be more professional. France saw IMSA as a way to get in on some of the action being enjoyed by the SCCA.
IMSA grew to become one of this country’s premier sanctioning bodies as the world’s best sports car racers wrote a storied history. However, IMSA nearly faded away until it was revived in 2014 when NASCAR’s Grand-Am merged with the American Le Mans Series.