Sunday, February 12, 2017

Ralph DePalma Sets New World Land Speed Record - February 12, 1919

February 12, 1919
Ralph DePalma, 
(Photo credit; "N041916" by Original uploader was Royalbroil at en.wikipedia)
Ralph DePalma drove a Packard to a world speed record of 149.875 mph, over a measured mile, at Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

Daytona Beach Road Course was a race track that was instrumental in the formation of NASCAR. It originally became famous as the location where fifteen world land speed records were set. Daytona Beach's wide beach and smoothly packed sands at low tide were opened to drivers for many years. The beach was used for the high-speed testing and racing of motorcycles and the newfangled “horseless carriages”. This made the beach a mecca for racing enthusiasts. Fans enjoyed watching the events while standing on grass-covered sand dunes a short distance on-shore.

Fifteen land speed records were set at the site between January 24, 1905 and March 7, 1935. Drivers to set records at Daytona include Arthur MacDonald, Ralph DePalma, Henry Segrave, Ray Keech, and Sir Malcolm Campbell who set the last record of 276.82 mph (445.50 km/h). In 1935, drivers began using the more consistent surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The 500 feet (150 m)-wide beach at Daytona was too narrow to accommodate the higher speeds.

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