DAYTONA BEACH RACE
The Daytona Beach Road Course was a race track that was instrumental in the formation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or NASCAR. It originally became famous as the location where fifteen world land speed records were set.
The Daytona Beach Road Course got its unofficial start back in 1902 when the founder of Oldsmobile and Reo Motor Car Company, Ransom E. Olds and the founder of Winston Motor Carriage Company, Alexander Winston staged a race at the Ormond Beach, just down the way from Daytona Beach. With the first organized event taking place at Ormond Beach in 1903, the sandy course became the premier location to chase down the land speed record.
Between 1905 and 1935, at least 13 organized events took place on the beach and 15 land speed records were set, including the 276.82mph record set in 1935 by Sir Malcolm Campbell. Once speeds reached well over 200mph, the Bonneville Salt Flats became the choice course since Daytona Beach was too narrow for the higher speeds.
Once things were in full sing again, Daytona Beach was the place to be if you were into cars. The 3.2-mile course was expanded to 4.2 miles and brought armatures and legendary racers alike. It was also the place of origin for the NASCAR series, which was legally sanctioned on February 21st, 1948. NASCAR held its first event at the Daytona Road Course days before they were sanctioned an held races their until 1950 when the Darlington Speedway was finished.
In 1958, the Daytona Beach road course hosted its last event. The first Daytona 500 was held in 1959. Daytona Speed Week on only the beach sand and not the adjoining road, continued however through 1961 with time/distance records for the standing mile and flying mile in multiple classes.