Sir Malcolm Campbell and William H. G. France
By far the most famous driver to challenge the world speed records at Daytona Beach was Sir Malcolm Campbell. A former military man and insurance writer for Lloyd's of London, he was a country gentleman who was obsessed with speed. Bringing a total of five Bluebird's to Daytona from 1928 through 1935, he sought to break the 300
mph barrier. Campbell's Measured Mile course was an eleven mile stretch which began north of the Main Street Pier and ended near Ponce Inlet.
On the morning of his last record run, the weather threatened, and Campbell initially decided to take the day off. But as he watched the beach conditions later on that
day, he changed his mind and decided to make his attempt. The great siren at the fire house whined and the various officials made their way
to the beach. Guided by a black oil line in the sand and a large bull's eye target in the Measured Mile, Campbell's average time that day
was 276.82 mph. Although no one knew it at the time this was to be his last challenge at Daytona Beach.
A year later he broke the 300 mph barrier at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
Without his knowledge, Campbell's record breaking run that day was to change the course of racing in Daytona Beach once more as a young mechanic, William Henry Getty France, stood on the beach and saw the impressive run.
Although Campbell and others had moved to Utah, city officials sought an event to replace the winter racing series. Sig
Haughdahl suggested creating an oval track which would run half on the beach and half on A1A. He
measured off 1.5 miles on the road adjacent to where Campbell's Measured
Mile had been, and 1.5 miles on the beach.
He then directed a north and south turn to be cut through the sand
dunes on either end creating a 3.2 mile oval. The
course ran south of Dunlawton to Demotte Ave. and extended north to
the area across from Daytona Beach Shores City Hall. Haughdahls' first race was sanctioned by the AAA on March 8, 1936.
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