Sport: Speed on the Beach

Just as the tide ebbed, the first invading wave of cars whisked along the rim of the sand. Loudspeakers blatted. Whistles skirled. The racket of racing engines woke the town. For the next two weeks the annual speed trials of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing turned Daytona Beach, Fla. into a motorized madhouse.*

No one seemed to mind. The U.S. public has come to worship high-performance cars, and here were the latest sleek and high-powered family autos performing at their rarely possible, full-throttle best. For the first time since 1936, when...