DEEP IN THE HEART OF NASCAR COUNTRY, at a secret location in the shadow of the Daytona International Speedway, lies a gearhead's fantasy: the Motorsports Images and Archives—about 3 million photos, 30,000 artifacts and 15,000 hours of video of all things racing, dating to 1905. There's one catch. It's a research facility and not open to the public. "We request that the location not be given out," says Eddie Roche, the facility's head archivist, "for the simple reason that people would be showing up here looking for admission." So instead of NASCAR fans knocking on the archives' door, we've brought a taste of its holdings to NASCAR fans. All but one of the artifacts on these pages comes from the facility. Take a good look. It's the only look you'll get.
ORIGINAL DESIGN FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Though today's track looks much like Charles Moneypenny's original layout, the official programs (below) and a grandstand ticket from the inaugural 500 in '59 (below right), then $8, have changed a lot.
USED BY MARSHALS IN THE EARLY 1950s
While cars roared past on the beach-road track, race marshals all over the course squawked to each other on these footlong, military-style walkie-talkies.
FIRST OFFICIAL-TO-TOWER HOTLINE
Salvaged from a tow truck, this telephone from the 1950s was used by race marshals on the beach-road course to call officials on the timing stand.
STORED BEACH TIMING GEAR
Back in the 1950s, this wooden box stored the timing equipment—including a clock—used in tandem with a stopwatch by Joe Epton, NASCAR's chief timer and scorer for almost 50 years.
FROM THE DAYTONA 300 (NOW A NATIONWIDE SERIES RACE) CIRCA 1970
Helmets have evolved from the leather style of Daytona's beach-road days to this open-faced fiberglass shell to today's full-faced version with head-and-neck support.
TINY LUND BUST
COMMEMORATING THE 1963 DAYTONA 500 WINNER
Lund, who rescued '61 winner Marvin Panch from a flaming wreck and was rewarded with Panch's ride in '63, was immortalized by a youth hall of fame.
FROM THE '80 DAYTONA 500, WON BY BUDDY BAKER
One of three trophies awarded on Daytona 500 day (the Harley J. Earl and the Cannonball Baker are the others), the Cup is given to the winning team's owner.
HARLEY J. EARL TROPHY
DAYTONA 500 WINNER'S TROPHY
Named after the car designer, the trophy is housed at the Daytona 500 Experience and will be painted gold for the 50th 500.