While Daytona International Speedway is gearing up for next weekend’s (Aug. 28-29) anticipated Coke Zero Sugar 400 and Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola, Thursday was about taking a step back in time to the road course. No, not to last week’s historic first visit by NASCAR’s top national series to the DAYTONA Road Course at the Speedway, but instead, back to the sand and asphalt of A1A and the old Daytona beach-road course, a staple in Daytona from 1936-58.
The legendary Paul Goldsmith, who won the final Grand National (today the NASCAR Cup Series) race on the old beach-road course in 1958 before Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959, made a return to the Racing’s North Turn Restaurant at Ponce Inlet, the actual site of that iconic victory. There, the 94-year-old reunited with an old friend – the original 1949 “”Roarin’ Relic” No. 87 Oldsmobile, that he, along with other iconic NASCAR drivers, drove on the sands of the beach course, the high banks of the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway as well as southern bullrings for a decade.
“It brings back memories of driving on the beach and how it was at that time,” said Goldsmith, the only driver to win on the Daytona Beach Road Course in both race cars and on a motorcycle (DAYTONA 200 in 1953). “There are so many races that I have run but it was different here at the beach. You had to be careful getting through the corners with the loose sand, and that backstretch was awfully rough. It would bounce you around quite a bit.”
Goldsmith, AKA “Goldie,” claimed nine wins in NASCAR’s premier series, but for the Michigan native who now lives in Indiana, none were more sweet than that last beach-course race.
“I think we should drive it on the beach again and see what it’s like today,” joked Goldsmith. “It brings back a lot of the memories. That (victory) was interesting. I should have won the last two (referring to 1957 race). I was leading the year before when we blew a piston, but I was lucky and the car finished (in 1958) and we won the race.”
When asked if he was surprised where the sport of NASCAR had come since the days of the beach road-course, Goldsmith said, “I think you have to look back at the Frances (Bill France Sr. promoted the beach- road course, and founded both NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway). Promoting stock cars and working with the automotive companies. They developed so many race tracks around the country to run these stock cars.”
While Goldsmith won the last Grand National race on the beach driving Smokey Yunick’s No. 3 Pontiac on Feb 23, ‘58, he piloted the “Roarin’ Relic” on the sand just two days before in a NASCAR Modified race where he finished fifth behind winner Banjo Matthews.
Thursday, after Goldsmith took photos by the car on the beach, the “Chariot of Champions,” as it is also called, was taken to Daytona International Speedway where Goldsmith posed by the car on the start/finish line. Afterwards, track president Chip Wile got behind the wheel of the fabled machine, fired the engine and proceeded to take three laps around the 31-degree banked venue. Upon conclusion, the “Relic” was driven to its new home for the foreseeable future – the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) museum, located on the grounds of DIS, in which Goldsmith was inducted in 2008.
“What an incredible experience,” said Wile of having Goldsmith and the car at the track. “When you think about the history of this car on the beaches of Daytona and here at Daytona International Speedway, to get the opportunity to be behind the wheel and experience what those drivers felt was incredible. I have done some neat stuff in my career but this was certainly near the top of the list.
“To have Mr. Goldsmith here in Daytona is something special, and for us, that 1958 race on the beach course is extra special. We all love the history of the sport and it’s folks like Mr. Goldsmith who have gotten us here. Awesome to see him here today...means so much to us all.”
The “Roarin’ Relic” is a true survivor. Built originally by Bobby Griffin’s Griffin Motors of Florence, SC, it survived more than 10 years of top-level stock car competition at the hands of some of the sport’s most famous drivers: Goldsmith, two-time NASCAR champion Lee Petty, two-time NASCAR champion Buck Baker, Darel Dieringer, Bill Blair and Gene Darrah. It remains stunningly original seven decades later — a true time machine.
“We are thrilled that the Relic’s owner, Marshall Griffin, and friend Gray Bostick, decided that the MSHFA should be its long-term home,” said MSHFA President George Levy. “Starting today, visitors to our museum on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway can come see NASCAR’s oldest original car and what racing in the ‘50s really looked like.”
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Museum is a great place to visit while in Daytona for Daytona International Speedway events or visiting the Daytona Beach area. The Hall consists of not only the Roarin’ Relic but also other great racing machines and artifacts. Take a virtual tour here: https://www.mshf.com/video/mshfa-virtual-preview.html
Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway's mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
Racing has come a long way since the days of the beach-road course, and continues next weekend with the Coke Zero Sugar 400, which will serve as the final race of NASCAR’s regular season - the “last-chance” event to make the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. This marks the first time in history that the Coke Zero Sugar 400 has served as the cut-off race for the playoffs.
The full weekend schedule (2.5-mile tri-oval) includes:
- Friday, August 28 – Wawa 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series at 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN, SiriusXM and MRN); 250 miles (100 laps); NO FANS
- Saturday, August 29 – Coke Zero Sugar 400 NASCAR Cup Series at 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC, SiriusXM and MRN): 400 miles (160 laps)
A limited number of fans will get the opportunity to see the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Fans can get tickets, which start at $49 (both races included) for adults and $10 for kids 12 years old and younger, by visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or calling 1-800-PIT-SHOP.
About Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a state-of-the-art motorsports facility and was awarded the SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Sports Business Award for Sports Facility of the Year in 2016. Daytona International Speedway is the home of "The Great American Race” – the DAYTONA 500. Though the season-opening NASCAR Cup Series event garners most of the attention – as well as the largest audience in motorsports – the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex, also known as the “World Center of Racing,” boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the globe. In addition to at least nine major event weekends, the Speedway grounds are also used extensively for events that include concerts, civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, production vehicle testing and police motorcycle training.
About the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
The MSHFA is the only hall of fame that honors all of American motorsports: cars, motorcycles, airplanes, off road and powerboats. Its mission is to celebrate and instill the American values of leadership, creativity, originality, teamwork and spirit of competition found in motorsports. It was founded by Larry G. Ciancio and Ronald A. Watson and conducted its first induction in 1989. Watson spent the next 30 years tirelessly building it into the nation’s premier motorsports hall of fame until his sudden passing in 2019. The original museum in Novi, Mich., relocated to Daytona Beach, Fla., in 2016 and greets more than 100,000 visitors a year. The MSHFA is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation, Inc.
1.20.2021"We are excited to continue our relationship with Bluegreen Vacations, and look forward to the Bluegreen Vacations Duel."
1.19.2021Luke Combs, Multi-Platinum, ACM, CMA, CMT and Billboard Music Award-Winning Artist, To Perform at 2021 DAYTONA 500
Longtime NASCAR Fan Will Star During Pre-Race Show at World Center of Racing, Sunday, Feb. 14
1.16.2021Nearly 50 Drivers Participate in Two-Day Test of ARCA Menards Series at Daytona International Speedway, Preparing for Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire
Lancaster, Heim Lead Practice Efforts for Series’ Season-Opening Event, Set for Saturday, Feb. 13
1.15.2021For 11th Straight Year, “America’s Ambassadors in Blue” to Soar Over World Center of Racing