Tuesday, April 6

1952 nascar daytona beach race

The time trials on the beach are the best... great paint jobs on the modified sportsmen. Hudsons did well that year. The beach had been the scene of moto and car speed trials for decades before.
The hard packed sand between Daytona Beach and its northern neighbor Ormond Beach was the site of the world-record automobile speed trials. They started in 1902 and picked up speed right up to the '30s. By then the speeds were approaching 300 miles per hour along the firm and smooth inviting sand. In the spring of 1935 Sir Malcolm Campbell was taking his Bluebird rocket car to Daytona Beach in hopes of running at 300 miles per hour for yet another land-speed-record.

Campbell never did get his record of 300 mph at Daytona, instead his best he could do was 276.82mph and on March 7, 1935 Campbell announced that he was moving the speed trials to Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It was the shifting winds and changing tides that made Campbell realize that he would not reach his goal of 300mph if he kept working out of Daytona Beach. Campbell did beat the 300mph speed at Bonneville in late 1935.
-via DecadesOfRacing
This beach race evolved into the Daytona 500 that we know today. The second running in 1960 saw NASCAR's largest ever crash, 37 cars. As a commenter has since noted, "back then, the only crumple zone was the driver", but amazingly everyone walked away.