Good Old Days

1935 News


1939 Race


1949 Race by Eddie Samples


1935 News

Addressing a recent conclave of Daytona business executives, L.H. "Rocky" Neereamer, official AAA field representative, said: "Stock car auto races in the past encouraged various changes in the motor and body design of contesting cars. This is the first time an event has been confined strictly to all-stock automobiles."

Major "Goldie" Gardner, too, is of the opinion that beach and road racing will prove exceedingly popular here. Gardner, noted British race driver now vacationing at Daytona Beach, is a prospective entrant for the March speed classic.

Meanwhile, Daytona Speed officials have announced the entry of six Ford drivers and owners. They are: Sam Purvis, Jacksonville; Jack Sheppard, Tampa; Gil Allgnier, Ormond Beach; Lloyd Moody, Daytona Beach; Harry Atkinson, Daytona Beach; and Buddy Galloway, Miami.

Purvis, winner of the 1933 road race at Jacksonville has had considerable experience in road racing; Allgnier and Moody are newcomers, while Galloway is a dirt track performer of note.

Sheppard and Atkinson have entered privately-owned cars in the national competition here. Sheppard will probably engage "Shorty" Drexler of Louisville, Ohio, as a driver, while Atkinson is dickering.

Additional entrants are expected to include local gas station owner, Bill France; dirt track champions, Bob Sall, Ben Shaw and "Doc" Mackenzie; midget racing champion, Bill Schindler; Indy 500 winner Wild Bill Cummings; wealthy sportsman Sam Collier; and Palm Beach millionaire builder of famous cars and speed boat, John Rutherford.

The fastest man in the world from Norway, Sig Haugdahl, measured a mile and a half distance on the blacktop road Highway A1A and cut turns into the sand dunes to establish the race track. Sig Haugdahl was famous as the first driver to exceed three miles a minute (180 mph) in an automobile on Daytona-Ormond beach in 1922. His custom built "Wisconsin Special" is still the narrowest car ever built which attained a land speed record on the world famous beach race court at Daytona-Ormond, Florida.

1939 Race

Fan interest in the July 4 edition of the 150-mile marathon for semi-stock cars received a big boost yesterday when it was announced that Mad Marion McDonald, the 21-year-old Orlando driver who ran the other racers frantic and the spectators wild with glee at his reckless antics in the March 19 race, had listed his entry for the Independence day grind.

The slender Orlando youth, who wheeled his yellow touring car around the turns and hurled it down the straight-aways in the March race, is one of the most daring drivers ever to show his skill and courage on the road-beach course.

The youthful daredevil had motor trouble in the March race and lost his lead when he tore up his transmission and couldn't change gears. He finished the grind, however, although he was out of the money. But the spectators, who watched the course intently for the sight of the yellow hood, felt that they had gotten their money's worth from his antics alone.

He has his automobile back in shape again now according to a letter received at race headquarters, and he'll be back to give the front runners a threat and the customers a thrill on July 4.

1949 Race

Additional Information

The 1949 race moved to a new 4.3-mile course, and France increase the race from 150 miles to 200 miles to allow the drivers to open up on the straighaways. Eighty-seven cars filed for qualifying, and 75 competed in the race -- the largest field in the history of American automobile racing. Ed Samples had the fastest time with Fonty Flock, and Red Byron just a few seconds slower.

Fonty led the first two laps before Byron took command. Then local hero Marshall Teague made his move. Teague, who had installed an extra fuel tank in the back seat of his '39 Ford, carried 36 gallons of fuel. He made only one quick pit stop for oil and led the race until the 36th lap when he briefly lost the lead to Ed Samples. Samples broke a rod with two laps remaining, and Teague won his first Daytona victory.


The mid-season race saw a switch from pre-war cars to newer models. Red Byron and Raymond Parks entered a 1949 Oldsmobile 88, but the fans were intrigued by the entry of three woman -- Sara Christian, Louise Smith, and Ethel Flock Mobley. Byron won the race with Tim Flock taking second place. Frank "Rebel"Mundy came in third. Ethel finished 11th, and Sara finished 18th. Louise came in 20th.

After the race Byron and Vogt compared the new cars to the modifieds. "These strictly stock cars are a lot slower,"remarked Byron. "The modifieds will do 115 mph down the road. These strictly stocks can do 92, maybe 93,"agreed Vogt. As noted by racing historian Greg Fielden, "It was a surprisingly disappointing beginning to what would be the heralded Winston Cup Series."

[Editor's note: Adding an extra fuel tank was not against the rules, but it was innovative.]