Have you ever been to an event that transported you back in time?

Photography by Chris Tropea

Every year leading up to the Daytona 500, there is a meetup and parade of historic stock cars that drive on the beach just like they used to way back in the early days of NASCAR.

Standing on the beach with the hundreds of other spectators got me thinking about what those races used to look like.

Although it was a parade and not a race, the cars were still driving on the hard-packed sand just like they did before Daytona’s banked curves were built.

I have seen similar cars in collections and museums but seeing them on the beach–from the sounds of the engines to the smells of race fuel in the air–was a whole new experience.

For a view of some more authentic racing, Daytona International Speedway is only a short drive away from the beach. There, you can see historic race cars blast around the track at speed during vintage racing events like HSR’s Classic 24 Hour At Daytona.

The sounds of the rotary-powered 767B and RX-7 GTO blasting around the infield, mechanics in the garages working to get cars back together and fans lined up along the fences watching the action on track made me think back to what it must have been like for the teams and drivers to compete with some of those old-school race cars–and what it could have been like as a fan to watch the cars race.

Sure, you can see a lot of these same cars at museums around the world, but nothing can beat seeing them on track doing what they were built to do. You can walk the pits and talk to the people driving these cars and hear first-hand what it’s like to drive one. If you are lucky, they might even give you the chance to sit in the car.

If you are thinking about going to a historic race event, stop thinking and go, you won’t regret it.

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Comments
Msterbee
Msterbee Reader
2/27/24 12:34 p.m.

Rennaissance Festival?  Wait, wrong crowd... 

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
2/28/24 7:29 a.m.

In reply to Msterbee :

I am also a fan of Renaissance Festivals. Have not been in a few years since the local one changed locations though. 

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
2/28/24 9:17 a.m.
Msterbee said:

Rennaissance Festival?  Wait, wrong crowd... 

Hey, for those really into classic race cars, those who even dress up to the appropriate era, are we just kidding ourselves not thinking that it's a kind of cosplay?

Msterbee
Msterbee Reader
2/28/24 4:38 p.m.
J.A. Ackley said:
Msterbee said:

Rennaissance Festival?  Wait, wrong crowd... 

Hey, for those really into classic race cars, those who even dress up to the appropriate era, are we just kidding ourselves not thinking that it's a kind of cosplay?

Things like the Goodwood Revival and TROG are totally the automotive version of cosplay.  laugh

Msterbee
Msterbee Reader
2/28/24 4:40 p.m.
Chris Tropea said:

In reply to Msterbee :

I am also a fan of Renaissance Festivals. Have not been in a few years since the local one changed locations though. 

There is a large one local to the Detroit area. I'm in the - goes at least once every weekend it's open - crowd.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/29/24 11:47 a.m.

I was standing next to Chris while the cars drove up the beach and, yeah, it was cool. (Although I wouldn’t have minded seeing a little more period garb instead of smart phones among the drivers.)

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