Long ago, in the 1900-1907 era the Ormond Hotel in Ormond Beach Florida was the winter home or favorite vacation haunt to some of this country’s early automotive pioneers. John D.Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Loius Chevrolet and Horace Dodge to name a few. In those days, roads were not constructed as they are today, the roads then were little more than horse trails, they were rutted and created problems for “auto-mobiles” that were being constructed at that time. The world was looking for naturally smooth, hard surfaces to test the speed of the automobiles. The sands of Pendine in South Wales was the home to several land – speed records thru 1903, but with the speeds appraoching 200 mph the length of beach at Pendine was not suitable for those types of speeds. The sand of the Daytona – Ormond area was smooth and compacted, perfect for testing of new automobiles, the length of the 3 was 3 times the length at Pendine. The auto makers and local area business leaders began to sponsor winter speed events which became races that broke existing land speed records from 1903 until 1935, 11 of them in Daytona Beach, hence giving Daytona the nick name ” The Birthplace of Speed” The following Land Speed records were set in Daytona.
- Jan 28th, 1904 WK Vanderbilt in Mercedes Land Speed Record of 92.30 mph
- Jan 24th, 1905 A McDonald in a Napier Land Speed Record of 104.65 mph
- Jan 26th, 1906 F Marriott in a Stanley Land Speed Record of 127.66 mph
- March 23rd, 1910 B Oldfield In A Benz Land Speed Record of 131.72 mph
- March 29th, 1927 H Segrave in a Sunbeam Land Speed Record of 203.79 mph
- Feb 19th, 1928 M Campbell in Napier Campbell Land Speed Record of 206.96 mph
- April 22, 1928 R Keech in White Triplex Land Speed Record of 207.55 mph
- March 11, 1929 H Seagrave in Irving Special Land Speed Record of 231.44mph
- Feb 5, 1931 M Campbell in a Napier Cambell Land Speed Record of 246.09 mph
- Feb 24, 1932 M Campbell in a Napier Cambell Land Speed Record of 253.97 mph
- Feb 22, 1932 M Campbell in a Rolls R Cambell Land Speed Record of 272.46 mph
As speeds appraoched 300mph , the search was on for a new venue to race. The Salt Tracks of Utah were harder packed, flatter, of a longer length, less traction than the sands of Daytona. So the world speed record fans continued to Utah and continued to set records….The current land speed record was set in 1997 and it 763.343 see how far we have come ???