Daytona-Ormond Plans - 1910 Update

Attached are four articles concerning planning for the 1910 Daytona-Ormond speed tournament. The first (attachment DaytonaNews122009) appeared shortly before Christmas 1909 in the December 20 Indianapolis News. Here we learn that event promoter, "Senator" W.J. Morgan had announced that the famous beach race would not be held in 1910. The excessive expense and lack of sponsorship and financial assistance from benefactors such as the railroad and steamship companies made it ruinous to continue. Morgan stressed that the Daytona community was simply too small to take on the burden of defraying the significant costs.
Attachment Daytona021310 contains two articles from the February 13, 1910, Indianapolis Star. The first article confirms the renewal of the annual speed festival as it seemed to be a year-to-year question. The local auto club, the Florida East Coast Automobile Association made the announcement. According to the article, the event had yet to receive American Automobile Association (AAA) sanction and obviously was not part of the new "national circuit" introduced in 1910. The Florida East Coast Automobile Association, which had raised some $50,000 in promotional funds during the previous seven years had come to the conclusion that the event's benefits did not meet ROI levels required.
According to the article, the "regular winter meet of the club was called off" and everyone assumed that was that. The event struggled financially which is not surprising given the lack of sponsors and the sparsely populated Daytona area at the time could not yield much in the way of paying spectators.
The second article, published February 27, 1910, in the Indianapolis Star, discussed the tremendous expectations for new world land speed records by Barney Oldfield in his newly acquired Blitzen Benz. As the story goes 1905 Vanderbilt Cup winner Victor Hemery, who recently had astounded avid motorsports followers with his speed and new records using the cars at Brooklands in England, wrote a letter to Oldfield with some tips in driving the giant 200 HP, chain-driven monster of a car. Hemery raised expectations by predicting that 150 MPH could be attained by the big Benz if his instructions on carburetor and gearing were followed. Hemery had tons of credibility after busting Felice Nazzaro's 121 MPH record to smithereens by reaching 128 MPH.
While the Daytona-Ormond event was scheduled for March 22 - 24 Oldfield's plan called for a March 1 arrival with his vaunted car. He believed the time was essential for him to work up to speed. The article also discusses ongoing negotiations to arrange a match race between Oldfield's newly acquired Benz and the other revered car of the day, the Fiat Giant owned by E.W.C. Arnold. One of the proposals was a mano-a-mano battle on the boards of the new Los Angeles area plank speedway at Playa Del Rey. Oldfield is represented as skeptical of the financial rewards promised for the contest and said he was preoccupied with his beach efforts anyway. He and his Benz would eventually make his way out to Playa Del Rey in April only to suffer an embarrassing defeat at the hands of amateur Caleb Bragg. Prior to Oldfield's purchase of the Benz, discussions had centered on a match race at Atlanta Speedway with George Robertson driving the Benz and Lewis Strang at the wheel of the Fiat.
Oldfield's victory over William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. in 1904 is noted. He drove the Bullet II in that event while Vanderbilt had a Mercedes.
Also included in this attachment is an interesting sidebar reporting that automobile taxis were rapidly putting horse-drawn taxis out of business in New York.
Attachment DaytonaNews022610 contains an Indianapolis News article announcing plans for Daytona the following month. The article announces the event dates as March 22 through 24. As noted above there had been much debate about the viability of producing the event, the article said interest in the rivalry between Oldfield's big Benz and DePalma's monster Fiat had rekindled interest.
Among the events/trophies planned were the Minneapolis, the Sir Thomas Dewar, and the Gold Speed King. "S.M." Sam Butler, head of the AAA contest board, was announced as referee. Another important player in the event's management was T.E. Fitzgerald of the local Florida East Coast Automobile Association.

Daytona021310.pdf160.46 KB
DaytonaNews122009.pdf272.94 KB
DaytonaNews022610.pdf258.16 KB