February 26, 1903
Winton sets speed record
Alexander Winton, driving his Winton Bullet, set the first speed record ever achieved at Daytona Beach, Florida. Built in 1902 the “Bullet Number 1” drove a measured mile at over 65mph. The first automobile race at Daytona was held a year earlier when Winton and his Bullet took on Ransom Olds. The race was declared a tie as both cars reached a top speed of 57mph. For hardware lovers, the “Bullet 1” carried a massive water-cooled four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 792 cubic inches. It had automatic intake valves, operated by compressed air, and an overhead cam. Winton’s “Bullet 2” carried two four-cylinder engines bolted together, creating a straight eight. Winton’s cars were driven by legendary speed demon Barney Oldfield, whose celebrated competitions with Ralph DePalma carried car racing through its first decade. Oldfield was America’s first racing icon. Fans loved to watch him speed to victory with an unsmoked cigar clamped in his teeth.