NASCAR in the 1950s

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Daytona Beach in 1956

The very first beach race was in 1936 in Daytona.

Daytona Beach is the starting place of every season in NASCAR even though now they actually race on a real track rather than the beach. This beach course was most unique and provided the longest straightaways in stock car racing with two miles up the beach front and two miles down a paved road. There were hairpin curves at both the north and south ends. Some of the fans would watch the race from the sand dunes that were on the outer edges of the course. Others would sit in the wooden grandstands and some in the infield dunes.

In the 1936 race, there were all types of cars that entered – no car was considered ineligible. Convertibles, hardtops, sports cars -- you name it -- were entered in the race. Can you imagine some of those heavier cars on the beach? They would get bogged down in the sand. That race was scheduled for 250 miles but the officials stopped it 10 miles before the entire distance was completed. Ten cars out of the twenty-seven cars were left when they stopped it. Milt Marion was the winner with his 1936 Ford.