In 1972, the Sports Car Club of America formed a new club racing class for absolutely stock street automobiles. The class was called “showroom stock,” and the original rules imposed a price ceiling on the cars of $3,000-pennies in comparison to today’s racing budgets. From those humble origins, showroom stock racing grew in popularity over time, manufacturer interest, cost and number of participants.
On the first day of summer, 1980, a 24-hour showroom stock race was staged at Nelson Ledges Road Course near Youngstown, Ohio. The success of the Nelson Ledges “Longest Day” and the amazing response to a second such event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August, 1984, prompted the SCCA to combine several existing endurance races into a manufacturers’ series for 1984.
This new series was expanded into a six-race professional showroom stock endurance racing series for 1985. The 1985 series was billed as the Playboy United States Endurance Cup, with Playboy Magazine its title sponsor. There were four classes in 1985 (GT, A, B and C) with a per-race purse of $20,000 and year-end bonus of $60,000.