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Daytona was founded in 1870 by Matthias Day, from whom it takes its name. It was incorporated as a city in 1876. The separate towns of Daytona, Daytona Beach and Seabreeze merged to form Daytona Beach in 1926. In the 1920s, the city became known as The World's Most Famous Beach.

Daytona's wide beach of smooth, compacted sand attracted automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts beginning in 1902, when pioneers in the industry tested their inventions. On 8 March 1936, the first stock car race was held on the Daytona Beach Course. In 1959, William France created Daytona International Speedway to replace the beach course.

Automobiles are still permitted on the beach — at much slower speeds! Daytona is one of the few places in the world where a family car can be driven on an ocean beach.
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