Pioneer Era Ends
The winter racing series continued in Ormond Beach until 1910. Motorcycles, which were a part of the racing events from its
beginning in 1903, took center stage in 1907. That year Glenn H. Curtiss in a V-8 motorcycle was the fastest vehicle through the Measured Mile. Also that year, race officials decided that future events would place more emphasis
on long distance racing. The 1908 series was highlighted by a 300 mile long race won by Emanuel Cedrino in a 60 hp Fiat Cyclone. (Shortly after the 1909 event, a 2 1/2 mile race track was completed in Indianapolis).
In 1910, Barney Oldfield was the star driving the Lightning Benz to a new world record, however the prestigious 300 mile race was cancelled because of heavy rains. By 1911, the Florida East Coast Automobile Association was unwilling to support the races financially and a rival Jacksonville club took over
the dates normally planned for the Daytona Ormond event. Not to be outdone, W. J. Morgan staged
a competing event in Daytona involving the new airplanes. These factors coupled with the running of the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 and
the outbreak of World War I spelled an end to the pioneer era of automobile racing.
The men and machines continued to come to Daytona Beach to test their skill against the timer's clock, but the extended runs were to take a hiatus until 1936. One by one the world speed records were pushed higher and higher as the cars became more powerful and equipped with new technology. In 1920 Tommy Milton first broke the 150 mph record in the Duesenberg Special.
Sig Haughdahl in his Miller 8 Special racing car c. 1920
1922 featured Sig Haughdahl who reached a speed of 180 mph which exceeded three miles a minute. Because of the larger
vehicles, the Measured Mile course was moved southward. Beginning at Ponce Inlet, the cars
accelerated for four miles with one mile timed, four miles were left to slow to a stop. This course ended three miles south of the Main Street
In 1927, one event made history off the track which would forever change the face of racing in Daytona Beach. An
Englishman, Major H.O. D. Segrave arrived to chase the 200 mph barrier. Previous speed records had been sanctioned by the Automobile
Association of America (AAA), but were not certified world wide because they were not monitored by the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile in Paris which was the recognized
governing authority. Segrave successfully petitioned the FIA to certify the AAA as the official governing body for the timed events on the
beach at Daytona. This momentous change propelled the area into the international spotlight.
In those days, the fire station on Beach Street and Orange Avenue would sound its siren to signal that a speed record attempt was imminent. This brought out the National Guard, the Police, city engineers and electricians, Sheriff's Deputies and the AAA officials with their electric
timing devices. Segrave was the first driver in America to wear a safety helmet. On March 29,
1927 he drove the Sunbeam Mystery "S" 203.79 mph. It was during this period that the beach was dubbed "The World's Most Famous Beach" by one of its city fathers and strongest supporters, Jerome A. Burgman.
In 1928, Ray Keech recaptured the world speed record for the United States achieving 207.552 mph. Frank Lockhart set a land speed
record run in 1928 for a single engine car at 198.22 mph. In accordance with AAA rules, drivers had to make two runs; one northward and one
driving south to eliminate any wind advantage. The speed record is the average of those two runs.
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