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History of Auto Racing in South Florida
Art Deco Museum
May 23, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EDT
An event every day that begins at 9:00 am, repeating until May 31, 2022
The City of Miami Beach and FUNKSHION Productions presents the thrilling exhibit, History of Auto Racing in South Florida from May 3rd- 31st at the Art Deco Museum.
Miami Beach, FL (April 27th, 2022) – For the first time The City of Miami Beach and FUNKSHION Productions will present and celebrate the rich history of auto racing in South Florida. The exhibit will showcase a unique timeline that highlights the automotive race spirit in South Florida.
Visitors can experience Florida’s rich racing culture in this exciting exhibit featuring the original Spirit of Miami race car as a courtesy of Ocean Automotive Group. Drivers’ memorabilia, NASCAR and stock car racing, Sebring and sports car endurance racing images and videos.
The exhibit explores auto racing history from 1903 to the present, starting with early pioneers like Carl Fisher who led a drive to build Dixie Highway, connecting Florida to Michigan. By 1915, he built a barrier Island in Biscayne Bay, creating Miami Beach, Florida. Perhaps most famously, he was the visionary that led to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the annual Indianapolis 500.
In 1983, thanks to real estate developer Ralph Sanchez, Miami organized the first ever Miami Grand Prix race on Biscayne Boulevard. After facing several challenges and trying to find the perfect location to host the race, Mr. Sanchez welcomed the speedway project. By 1995, the famous Homestead Speedway track opened with a successful NASCAR race and soon became a site for IndyCar races.
The track was not Mr. Sanchez’s only major contribution to auto racing. Believing that he needed a marquee driver to help promote one of his first races, he persuaded Emerson Fittipaldi, world champion from Brazil to move to South Florida. Soon after Mr. Fittipaldi drove the car “The Spirit of Miami” in the 1984 Miami Grand Prix, he joined the Penske team and won driving their Indy Car in the Indianapolis 500.