Homestead-Miami Speedway founder dies at 64
MIAMI (AP) -- South Florida businessman Ralph Sanchez, who founded the Grand Prix of Miami and the Homestead-Miami Speedway, has died. He was 64.
Speedway officials confirmed that Sanchez passed away Monday morning following prolonged health problems.
Sanchez, a native Cuban, was sent to Miami alone as a child in the early 1960s. His father was concerned, because Sanchez had been recruited to help forces fighting Fidel Castro's new regime. Sanchez eventually went on to earn an accounting degree from Florida Atlantic University and to become a successful land developer.
Sanchez founded the Grand Prix of Miami in 1983. After that, he worked with Homestead and Miami-Dade County officials to build the speedway. The project broke ground in August 1993, exactly one year after Hurricane Andrew wiped out much of Homestead. The speedway hosted its first NASCAR race in November 1995.
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