The Fulford-Miami Speedway—then the fastest race track in the world—played host to one single race before its destruction in 1926 by the Great Miami Hurricane.
Earl DeVore in a Miller special race car at the Fulford-Miami Speedway in 1926.
In 1925, Miami was home to the world’s fastest speedway, the Fulford-Miami Speedway, located on what was then Flagler Boulevard (an area now occupied by Greynolds Park in the Sky Lake neighborhood). Conceived by Miami Beach builder and auto enthusiast Carl Fisher and built with the help of Ray Harroun, the first winner of the 1911 Indy 500, the 1.25-mile wood track boasted 50-degree banked turns, which were drastically greater than the 31-degree turns at the Daytona International Speedway. Steep banks dictated driving speeds of 110 miles per hour or more to avoid sliding off the track.
On February 22, 1926, 20,000 fans packed into the North Miami racetrack to witness the speedway’s first race, paying anywhere from $3 for general admission to stand in the infield to $15 for box seats. Fast cars and high ticket prices—it was a foretaste of decades to come for a then very young Miami.
As advertised, 18 “daring drivers” competed for the Carl G. Fisher Trophy, donning aviator goggles and the occasional necktie. Only six managed to finish the 300-mile, 240-lap race. Winner Peter DePaolo took home the grand prize of $12,000, crossing the finish line in two hours and 19 minutes and averaging a speed of 129 miles per hour.
Unfortunately, Miami’s claim to racing fame was short lived. Just seven months later, in September 1926, the Great Miami Hurricane completely demolished the track after only that one major race. Pieces of the wooden surface, scattered throughout the city, were used to reconstruct damaged buildings along Miami Beach. The track itself was never rebuilt.
Though the track is gone, Miami still has a knack for putting on an extravagant show. Just peek into any of our nightclubs, or watch the parade of supercars cruising South Beach on any given weekend.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STATE ARCHIVES OF FLORIDA, FLORIDA MEMORY