Style & Culture

Eric Killorin

Thu Jun 13 2013 13:20:51 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

The official record will show that the beach race at Daytona in 1957 was won by Cotton Owens driving a a ’57 Pontiac prepared by Ray Nichels. Owens completed the 39 laps on the 4.1-mile beach and road course at an average speed of 101.541 mph, with Johnny Beauchamp following in second and Fonty Flock in third. The Smokey Yunick-prepared ’57 Chevy of Paul Goldsmith mounted a strong challenge, but eventually fell out with engine failure.

Now watch this great old 1957 newsreel and see these dull, dry facts come to life and leap off the screen at you.

See Cotton Owens and Ray Nichels, Smokey Yunick and Paul Goldsmith. See Mauri Rose, Bill Stroppe, and Pat O’Connor tight in the frame, walking and talking, up close and personal. This Pontiac promotional film plants us on the scene at Daytona in 1957 as no book or magazine story ever could.

Another neat aspect of the film: Along with the big race on the beach/road course, the Daytona speed weeks in those days featured a full slate of events, including NASCAR-sanctioned standing and flying mile tests for production cars. There’s some great action here too—enjoy.

Courtesy of