Located in North Central Florida’s Marion County, Dunnellon is not a name often associated with sports car racing. The small, sleepy town is on the Rainbow River, close to the Gulf of Mexico. Nearby Ocala is much better known in racing circles, since it hosts Don Garlits’ Museum of Drag Racing. Yet for three years in the late ’50s and early ’60s, Dunnellon was the scene of fierce competition, sanctioned by two Regions of the Sports Car Club of America.
It all started in 1958. Until then the Florida Region used race locations primarily on the Atlantic Coast, such as Master Field, New Smyrna Beach, Boca Raton and Cocoa-Titusville. Dunnellon offered a welcome opportunity on the Gulf Coast, especially after the local Chamber of Commerce was willing to act as the event sponsor. Regional Executive Dick Duncan was the driving force behind the inaugural Dunnellon Park Road Races, scheduled for April 26-27 that year.
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