Edward Bland

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Edward Bland

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:10 pm

Edward Griffith Bland
“Eddie Bland”

Eddie was born February 1, 1904, in Cherokee County, North Carolina and moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1918. He built his first racecars in 1934, and numbered them #11 and #8. His cars were driven by such noted drivers of the era as Ed Eng, Tommy Elmore, and Buttercup Pierce

Eddie’s racecar won 3 Florida State Championship in 3 successive years. He promoted races at Seminole Beach and Fernandina Beach, Florida, racing on the sandy beache, until World War II put a halt to auto racing. After the war ended, Eddie started forming a corporation to build a ½ mile speedway at the corner of Plymouth Street and Lenox Avenue on the Westside of Jacksonville. In the late 1946, the track was completed and the first stockcar race was held in March of 1947. This racetrack was considered the best in the southeast and Bill France Sr. of later NASCAR fame, was the flagman in this first race.

In 1949, the NASCAR national point money was awarded to the drivers on the front straightaway of Jacksonville Speedway. Several world records were established on this racetrack, and it became known as the fastest ½ mile dirt track in the world. In the early 1950’s, Eddie sold Jacksonville Speedway and retired from the racetrack promoting business. He was one of the top men in NASCAR with Bill France at the beginning of that organization.

On September 1, 1968, Eddie had a massive heart attack and died on September 11, 1968. Eddie and his wife, Letha, had two daughters, Bette Bracewell and Edine Duke. Eddie is considered and recognized as one of the true pioneers in the southeastern world of stock car racing.

Eddie was inducted into the Jacksonville Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 1998

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