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Racing's North Turn History

Racing’s North Turn Restaurant and Racing Museum sits on the exact location where racing history began in Daytona Beach. The Races took place on the beach starting in 1936 until World War II and then continued with the first Grand National Race in 1948. These great car races ran right here outside the door of Racing’s North Turn each year until 1958 when NASCAR relocated to the brand new Super Speedway where today you can witness the thrill of the Daytona 500 or any one of Daytona’s famous Races. Racing’s North Turn Restaurant has gone through many changes over the years, but one thing holds firm:  The history of this site is an asset to Volusia County and holds the key to racing’s past. As of February 15, 2007, the Ponce Inlet Historic & Archaeological Preservation Board announced that Racing’s North Turn will be recognized as a Historic Landmark.

On February 17, 2012 Daytona International Speedway held a Historic Press Conference on the sand of the famed North Turn. Hundreds of spectators along with about 50 VIPs and some of the Living Legends watched as The Woods Brothers, Joie Chitwood III, Trevor Bayne, and Brian France talked about what it meant to race on the sand back in the days of beach racing. Trevor Bayne the 2011 winner of the Daytona 500 climbed into the number 21 and started the car, he ran down the beach for the first time since 1958. He rounded the North Turn and made his way to Daytona International Speedway to open the 2012 Speedweeks.

On February 18, 2012, The Town of Ponce Inlet along with the County of Volusia held a grand dedication ceremony to commemorate the History of the famed North and South Turns. The festivities started with a vintage car parade down Atlantic Ave. making the loop of the South Turn and heading back to the North Turn while thousands of spectators watched. The first dedication ceremony started at the South Turn with Living Legend Russ Truelove unveiling his face on the historic marker while Glen Wood of Hall of Fame status and Grand National winner Marvin Paunch, together raised the Checkered flag. Living Legend Ray Chaike unveiled his face on the marker at the North Turn while “The King” Richard Petty raised the Checkered flag. The day followed with the Living Legends telling their racing stories of yesteryear and signing autographs. 64 years ago this year the legendary drivers graced the sands outside Racing’s North Turn doors for their first Nascar sanctioned race ever and this year they received their highest honor, recognition!

The course started at the North Turn on the pavement of the highway known as Atlantic Avenue (4511 South Atlantic Avenue to be exact). It went south two miles on A1A (parallel to the ocean) to the end of the road, where the drivers accessed the beach at the Beach Street approach (the South Turn), went two miles north on the sandy beach surface, and turned away from the beach at the North Turn. The lap length in early events was 3.2 miles, and it was lengthened to 4.2 miles in the late 1940s.

Sometimes even the most seasoned race fan has to stop for a double-take… along with our local Living Legends, it is not uncommon for some of today’s famous drivers to take a seat at the bar. As with many of our famous visitors willing to sign an autograph, race week usually requires a permanent marker. Racing’s North Turn is proud of our extensive photo library, with many photos donated by some of the most famous racecar drivers and bike racers in history.    We are excited to be one of the few establishments to display such treasured bits of racing history, so if you haven’t seen us in a while, come check it out.