I eat at this restaurant all the time. Over the years I have learned more and more about the history of this site and beginnings of today’s NASCAR racing.
Before race cars negotiated the banks and bends of Daytona International Speedway, the need for speed was met on a mix of sand and asphalt along the Atlantic Coast. The roar of engines has been heard around this part of Volusia County since 1936. The Daytona Beach road course once stretched to Ponce Inlet.
Racing’s North Turn Beach Bar & Grille in Ponce Inlet is located at one of local racing history’s pivotal points. In 2007, the Ponce Inlet Historic & Archaeological Preservation Board recognized the site of the casual ocean-side restaurant as a historic landmark. From the north turn on the pavement of Atlantic Avenue, the path went south two miles on U.S. Highway A1A to the end of the road. There, drivers hit the beach to speed two miles north and catch another lap at the north turn, according to RacingsNorthTurn.com. These wild and woolly car races ran until 1958, according to local historians, when they were relocated to one of the world’s most famous tracks, Daytona International Speedway. Today, the aroma of sunscreen has replaced the smell of gas, oil and burning rubber. But Racing’s North is still making history.
Inside the restaurant, guests are greeted with cases of race-car memorabilia, including event photos and a gallery of drivers. The menu has a checkered flag theme with some sandwiches named for racing legends such as Russ Truelove, Vicki Wood and Ray Fox. There is an inside dining room– but really, you came to the beach to eat inside? … Take a table outside or eat at the bar. Service is time-trials quick, but you will want to linger with the ocean view. A wall of glass doors lines one side as wind protection, I suppose. But on most days they are open to a long deck set with Adirondack chairs.