The 6th Annual Historic North Turn Racing Legends Beach Parade
It’s getting to be that time of the year–the time when motorsports fans shake off the winter doldrums and begin to gear up for another season of competition. The first big events, of course, are the January 10-14 Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the January 28-29 Rolex 24 at Daytona, but NASCAR fans tend to look toward mid-February as the kick-off of stock car racing’s season. That, of course, is Daytona International Speedway’s celebrated nine-days of racing and racing-related activities known around the world as simply “Speedweeks.” The extravaganza begins with the ARCA Racing Series “Lucas Oil 200” on the first day (Saturday, February 18) and “The Clash at Daytona” later that evening. But for racing historians and long-time stock car racing aficionados, the excitement actually begins at 10:00 am on that first day of Speedweeks.
What we’re referring to is the sixth annual Historic North Turn Racing Legends Beach Parade, an event that features restored versions of many of the race cars driven in the days of competition on the closed-course beach racing venue (3.2 miles in length originally, then subsequently expanded to 4.2 miles) partly on Daytona beach and partly on the paved road known as A1A (check out our previous GimmeInfo post on this groundbreaking venue). The parade is an event that has grown in prominence in its brief history and, as reported via the event’s webpage, “Thousands of fans line both sides of South Atlantic Avenue to watch the start of the parade at 4511 S. Atlantic Ave and then make their way to the beach to see the finish on the sand. Cars and drivers from 12 states have participated in the parade and newspapers and racing publications from across the nation have picked up the coverage. A crowd of more than 9,000 is expected for the February 18 happenings. Cars will begin unloading in the Ponce Inlet Town Hall parking lot on the west side of 4300 S. Atlantic Ave and will be staged in the Racing’s North Turn parking lot beginning at 7:30 a.m.”
Racing’s North Turn, incidentally, is an icon in Beach Racing History. Now owned by Rhonda and Walter Glasnak, the building stands adjacent to the exact starting point of the NASCAR beach course, where racing took place from 1936 to 1958. It is a veritable mecca for race fans wanting to experience the nostalgia of the sport’s early days. Gutted by a devastating fire in 2015, the restaurant has been re-built spectacularly by the Glasnaks, with assistance of the local community in restoring it’s base of racing memorabilia.
One of last year’s highlights at this event was an appearance by U.S. Representative Bill Posey (Florida’s 8th District), who drove his street legal 1957 Chevrolet in the event. Rep. Posey is a former race car driver and track promoter who over the past few years has turned his attention to vintage race car restoration. The vehicle he showcased in the 2016 event was the result of his efforts to restore the car’s body and frame and add roll bars, racing tires, and instrumentation that would bring the classic up to racing standards.
If you’re planning to attend, get there early! Staging begins at 7:30 am, and the Racing’s North Turn parking lot will be open to spectators starting at 8:00 am. The parade’s green flag drops at 10:00 am sharp, followed by a two-hour driver autograph session and interviews by Sirius Radio host Danny “Chocolate” Myers and his wife, Caron starting at 11:00 am inside the restaurant.
The Historic North Turn Racing Legends Beach Parade is a cooperative effort involving the County of Volusia, The Town of Ponce Inlet, and Racing’s North Turn Restaurant. The event’s organizers have a goal of maintaining authenticity, restricting entrants to those vehicles built between 1936 and 1958. It is further stipulated that cars in the event must be an original or replica, and must have a number displayed. Anyone seeking registration information can access details at Northturnbeachparade@gmail.com.
What you’ll see
If you have the good fortune to make it over to Daytona Beach for this event, you’ll see a fantastic array of racing memorabilia in the form of restored vintage racing machines. Here’s a sampling of the kinds of iconic cars likely to participate in this year’s edition:
Feature Photo Credit: Jack Walker
Posey Photo Credit – Dargan Watts