60 years ago, sports-car racing made its local debut … in nsb – news – daytona beach news-journal online – daytona beach, fl

Sixty years ago — two years before Daytona’s mammoth speedway opened and five years before the first internationally famous sports-car race was run there — big-time sports-car racing swarmed an area venue that most current locals never knew had a racing history: New Smyrna Beach Airport.

“The sports-car races at the New Smyrna Beach Airport course tomorrow and Sunday are a sure thing. Basketball games to play There is no unpredictable beach to worry about,” was the lead paragraph in a News-Journal story on Feb. Garden stores near me 8, 1957.


Big Bill France’s NASCAR Speedweeks show, on Daytona Beach’s beach-and-road course, was in its next-to-last year on the sands. Top mlb players 2016 The carnival of auto racing always ended with the featured 160-mile stock-car race that was the precursor of today’s Daytona 500. Big boy softball The two weeks leading up to that event featured smaller races and “flying mile” runs for a variety of automobile classes.

All of it, however, could be hamstrung by poor beach conditions. Minecraft fence In ’57, there were issues with the beach part of the race course because there had been no recent tide pushed far enough ashore to smooth the racing surface exposed at low tide. Minor league baseball teams And that explains why the “sure thing” of the NSB Airport was important enough to lead the Feb. Masonry supply 8 write-up.

The NSB event, labeled as Volusia County’s first-ever sports-car race, would be sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA, still active today) and “hosted” by Paul Whiteman, a famed American bandleader from a few decades earlier who’d been dubbed “The King of Jazz.” He was also a racing buff who regularly attended the Daytona Beach events and naturally became friends with France.

Whiteman lured sports-car drivers to Daytona in the 1950s to run the “flying mile” straight-line runs, but the beach conditions were often rough on the low-slung roadsters. Rock landscaping ideas In a Don Rayno biography of Whiteman, the bandleader explained how the New Smyrna race came about.

“In 1956, when the beach surface got soft the first week of Speed Week, I had a tough time trying to keep the sports-car drivers here and happy, because their flying-mile runs were scheduled for that week. Us basketball olympic team 2016 I thought then, if we only had a race, we could not only attract more sports-car drivers, but could also have something for them to do in case the beach went bad on us again.”

An eight-turn, 2.4-mile course was arranged at the airport that still sits alongside U.S. Justbats Highway 1, and about 100 drivers were lured for the SCCA races. High school softball field dimensions The entries included a former Indy 500 winner, Troy Ruttman, NASCAR stars Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner and Paul Goldsmith, and a lanky Texan who would later become legendary for building cars instead of racing them, Carroll Shelby.

“I was 12 or 13 at the time,” says New Smyrna Beach native Jimmy Pearsall. American football online games “A bunch of us were at the airport every weekend flying our model planes and trying to get a peek at one of the bigger planes. Hitting drills volleyball The days of those races, we couldn’t fly our planes, but knowing our way around we were able to see the races without paying. Football games today on tv They were very exciting. Ncaa basketball tournament tv schedule That flat track made the cars slide and spin.

Qualifying trials were held on Saturday in a number of car classifications and finals on Sunday, culminating in the 40-lap main event, which was sponsored by Pure Oil. Cornerstone natural resources Something that seems rather obvious now didn’t become an issue until cars started turning laps at the airport.

“You know, my main job was to drum up interest for that race, which I did through a lot of personal appearances prior to the race,” Whiteman says in Rayno’s biography. Francesca battistelli concert “But once it started, man, I got interested in safety real quick.

“We drew about 12,000 spectators, of which about 8,000 paid. Fantasy football sleepers and busts It seemed like the whole crowd wanted to get out on the track. High pitch sound app It sure made me nervous. Georgia softball camp I spent most of the race going from one spot to another, helping to keep the crowd back.”

“It was crowded and it was loud. Pitch angle It was a pretty big deal for our little town,” says Sheldon, who remembers the scene, but also remembers leaving early to beat the crowd.

“We were more into the beach races,” he says. Pitch bend vst “We’d take our boat up the river, pull up into the mangroves and walk across to the dunes and watch the races for free.”

The weekend of time trials and racing involved several classes of cars and included an array of machinery similar to the variety seen in today’s sports-car events at Daytona — Volkswagen, Renault, Volvo, Corvette, Thunderbird, Mercedes, Porsche, Lotus, Jaguar, Triumph, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

Shelby, whose later legend was defined by his designing of Mustangs, was the fastest qualifier, navigating the tight course at an average of 85.12 mph in a Ferrari. What does pitching woo mean Maximum straightaway speeds were in the 135-140 range.

Of the NASCAR racers entered, Turner made the biggest promotional splash with his late arrival and a modified Thunderbird. Front yard ideas The colorful Virginian was a popular stock-car figure and, as a pilot of certain renown (he was hardly a conventional airman, as the old stories attest), he was no stranger to airports.

“I’ve driven on airport courses before, but not in a sports-car race,” he told the News-Journal’s Bob Desiderio. Fantasy football 2016 projections “It doesn’t seem to be much different, except, of course, these cars have more steam.”

“I’ve never been beaten by a Thunderbird,” he told Desiderio. Drip drop lyrics Shelby, who would win Le Mans in 1959, had won 40 of his 46 sports-car starts in ’56, so he hadn’t lost to any make of car very often of late. Spring training 2016 Turner, it turned out, wasn’t a competitive factor in the weekend’s events.

Shelby wasn’t beaten by a Thunderbird or anything else in Sunday’s main event. Commercial landscaping Wearing his signature cover-alls, Shelby was alone on the lead lap. Synthetic fiber used in towels Marvin Panch was second in a Thunderbird ride he inherited when Ruttman withdrew due to racing politics (sanctioning body USAC, from whom Ruttman earned his living, only wanted its drivers racing USAC, just as NASCAR only let its drivers race NASCAR events in those days).

Shelby averaged 87.56 mph for the 40 laps, a terrific gait requiring breakneck speed on the straight stretches of the 2.4-mile paved asphalt road course and artful driving skill for threading eight curves, two of which necessitated severe braking.

The 34-year-old champion estimated his maximum speed at between 135 and 140 mph but casually observed: “I can’t be accurate because I didn’t look at my tachometer.”

The SCCA brought the event back in 1958, but it lacked the star power of ’57. Carls patio The main event was won by Joe Sheppard — “The Tampa Hotshoe” — driving a Maserati. Fencing clubs near me Up the road, next to another airport on Daytona Beach’s west side, Big Bill France was soon filling the muck and turning that ragged acreage into his dream speedway.

In 1959, sports-car racing continued building its local presence, but it moved to Daytona International Speedway and employed the twisting course Big Bill carved through the infield of his mammoth tri-oval. Rock garden green bay The SCCA ran plenty of events there in the early years, but in 1962 Big Bill brought the world of sports-car racing to his playground for the three-hour Daytona Continental, which ushered in an era of endurance sports-car racing at Daytona that has certainly endured.

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