The 1949 race moved to a new 4.3-mile course, and France increase the race from 150 miles to 200 miles to allow the drivers to open up on the straighaways. Eighty-seven cars filed for qualifying, and 75 competed in the race -- the largest field in the history of American automobile racing. Ed Samples had the fastest time with Fonty Flock, and Red Byron just a few seconds slower.
Fonty led the first two laps before Byron took command. Then local hero Marshall Teague made his move. Teague, who had installed an extra fuel tank in the back seat of his '39 Ford, carried 36 gallons of fuel. He made only one quick pit stop for oil and led the race until the 36th lap when he briefly lost the lead to Ed Samples. Samples broke a rod with two laps remaining, and Teague won his first Daytona victory.
The mid-season race saw a switch from pre-war cars to newer models. Red Byron and Raymond Parks entered a 1949 Oldsmobile 88, but the fans were intrigued by the entry of three woman -- Sara Christian, Louise Smith, and Ethel Flock Mobley. Byron won the race with Tim Flock taking second place. Frank "Rebel"Mundy came in third. Ethel finished 11th, and Sara finished 18th. Louise came in 20th.
After the race Byron and Vogt compared the new cars to the modifieds. "These strictly stock cars are a lot slower,"remarked Byron. "The modifieds will do 115 mph down the road. These strictly stocks can do 92, maybe 93,"agreed Vogt. As noted by racing historian Greg Fielden, "It was a surprisingly disappointing beginning to what would be the heralded Winston Cup Series."