By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
PONCE INLET -- Historic stock cars that were used in NASCAR's early days when races were on the beach will return to the sand in February -- this time, for a parade.
Local racing history organizations and car clubs, such as Living Legends of Auto Racing, will participate in a parade featuring historic racing vehicles, something that has been described as a "simulated race," that will take place on the beach on Saturday, Feb. 16.
"This is where NASCAR started," said Rhonda Glasnak, owner of Racing's North Turn, a restaurant that sits next to the spot where the north turn approach of the former Daytona Beach Road Course once stood.
Town and county leaders have expressed support for the parade, which would follow a similar event in February 2012 to commemorate the completion of remodeled North and South Turn beach approaches that were redesigned with the beach's role in racing history in mind.
Organizers said the success of that event, which also featured appearances from NASCAR drivers from the past and present including 1961 Daytona 500 winner Marvin Panch and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, encouraged them to do it again.
"I think everyone was pleasantly surprised at the number of people that (attended)," said Bob Coolidge, vice president of Living Legends of Auto Racing. "The parade itself went smoothly without any hitches. We certainly all enjoyed it and we hope to repeat it again this coming February."
The Town Council recently agreed to co-sponsor the event, and organizers said county leaders are "very much on board." Sponsorship of an event involves paying for some or all of the costs associated with the event, which in this case includes law enforcement presence from the town's police department and the county's beach patrol.
Police chief Frank Fabrizio said it would cost $400 to $500 to fund overtime for three to four officers to direct traffic at intersections near the event.
"We would need at least three additional officers to myself, the lieutenant and the two officers working on-duty," Chief Fabrizio said. "That's at a minimum, even if the county covers Beach Street and a U-turn."
While the chief said the overtime would be a necessary expense, council members did not wish to spend that much. Mayor Gary Smith had suggested the town should contribute costs not to exceed $300, with the county likely paying the rest.
In response to a suggestion from Councilwoman Tami Lewis that a business aid in the costs, local business owner Howard Poretzky offered the town $500 to cover overtime expenses if his window film business can be advertised in promotional materials for the event, such as press releases and invitations.
In other business, the Town Council approved a resolution requesting the Legislature consider passing a law banning texting while driving and discussed the process of applying for town boards.