Monday, October 7, 2019


From a sold-out crowd at the Grand Opening on November 3, 1995, to 18 consecutive years of the Ford Championship Weekend, we take a look at the impact that both Ralph Sanchez and Al Garcia have made on motorsports in South Florida during this year's Hispanic Heritage Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the country's history, heritage, and culture. If it weren’t for them, the Speedway wouldn’t be where it is today.

Sanchez, a Cuban-born businessman, came to America aboard a freedom flight from Havana to Miami. After arriving in Miami, he lived with his aunt and uncle, later residing in a Catholic orphanage until he turned 18. Sanchez earned an accounting degree from Florida Atlantic University, became a real estate salesman, before moving on to become a land developer, and then a motorsports enthusiast. He had a vision of changing the way South Florida viewed motorsports, beginning with the Grand Prix of Miami and eventually Homestead-Miami Speedway. Because of him, Homestead-Miami Speedway was a major facilitator in the revitalization of Homestead after Hurricane Andrew wiped out the town. Since then, amazing things have happened. It was Ralph who changed the way South Florida saw motorsports.

Current track president Al Garcia is an original employee of Homestead-Miami Speedway and got his start in motorsports because of Ralph. He grew up in Miami and began working for Sanchez in 1985, where his career started with the Miami Grand Prix. Through the tragedy of the hurricane, Garcia had a big hand in helping to rebuild Homestead. Since then, he has continued to give years of dedication to the track and community of Homestead. 

From the words of Al Garcia himself: “I am very proud to have known Ralph and to have worked alongside him.”

Gracias por todo, Ralph y Al!