Monday, January 30, 2012

Drivin' on Daytona Beach

You can smell the salty air long before this famous Florida beach appears on the horizon. And what makes this beach so special is that it’s one of the few places where you can actually drive ON the sand.

For a mere $5, you can drive past fire pit rings, brightly painted ice cream trucks or beachcombers snoozing under a striped umbrella. Here and there a kite tugs a child along the sand, so be sure to observe the 10 mph speed limit.

Drivers can relive a dream that began in the early 1900’s when the hard packed sand of the local beach became the Daytona Beach Road Course. This is where land speed records were set back in the 1920s and 1930s. In later years fans would celebrate the names of Red Byron, Marshall Teague and Lee Petty.

The last beach race was held on the sand in 1958--a year before the first Daytona 500 was held at the new Daytona International Speedway in 1959.

This is also where NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), the internationally popular sport, got it’s start.

NASCAR headquarters is still located in Daytona Beach. There are track tours and a museum at the Speedway for race fans to enjoy.

Daytona beach is open to vehicles from sunrise to sunset Nov. 1 through April 30, and from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. the rest of the year.

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