Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
12/13/18 1:48 p.m.

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Story by Tim Suddard • Photos as Credited

About halfway between Toledo and Cleveland lies an oasis that bills itself as the Key West of the Midwest. Welcome to the tiny Lake Erie island community of Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Since the Prohibition days, when liquor could be easily imported from nearby Ontario, this picturesque little town has been known as a drinking and partying epicenter. In late August, the island becomes a race track, hosting an event like no other we’ve ever attended.

When organized road racing on public streets became immensely popular, the newly formed Cleveland Sport Car Club wanted in on the action. Members approached the leaders of Put-in-Bay about hosting a race.

They replied favorably, and each year from 1952 through 1959, the town’s roads opened to small-bore race cars. Toledo and Detroit racers tried the idea one more time in 1963, but it was just a one-time event.

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