Here’s something to get your motor running, racing fans – the Daytona International Speedway is getting a bigger, badder, bolder overhaul.
Home to NASCAR racing and the Daytona 500, the 480-acre complex has served motorsports fans for more than 50 years. Opened in 1959, the speedway has attracted visitors from around the globe who have come to see where the magic happens for racing greats from Richard Petty to Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The $400 million Daytona Rising project, which began in July 2013 and is scheduled for an early 2016 completion, will give fans easier access to roomier seats, as well as cooler places to chill out and re-fuel.
Across from the speedway, the One Daytona project will begin its first phase in 2014 and also will hit the finish line in early 2016 to give racing die-hards an entertainment, shopping and dining pit stop between events.
Here’s the lineup of improvements:
- More room to stretch out. Stadium seats will be widened, leg room increased and arm rests with cup holders and chairbacks will be added to the 101,000 spots along the nearly mile-long frontstretch. Though the current backstretch of 46,000 seats will be eliminated, the frontstretch will have an expansion potential to 125,000 total seats.
- Speedier access for you. Five sleek new entranceways called “injectors” will lead fans to a series of 40 escalators (the most of any sports stadium) and 17 elevators on three concourse levels. This will be an improvement over the three or four elevators and the rows of stairs currently used to navigate the speedway. “The most any fan will have to walk or climb will be 20 rows,” said Lenny Santiago, spokesman for the Daytona International Speedway.
- A neighborhood welcome. A total of 11 football-field sized common areas called “neighborhoods” will be spread throughout the speedway. Each neighborhood will give fans a place to socialize, with concessions, bars, shopping and open-air viewing with large-screen monitors to keep tabs on the action. The central space, “World Center of Racing,” twice as large as the others, will honor the speedway’s history and celebrate the special moments in 50 years of racing.
- No more aching calves. The current ground-floor concession will be converted to a service level, and all concessions will be located to the “neighborhoods” (see above), which means no more hoofing it down from the highest seating levels to get a cold one.
- Free entry for your chips and drinks. You will still be able to bring in your own snacks and beverages. “Fan feedback was very clear” on this issue, Santiago said. “We will still allow our fans to bring coolers with their own beverages and food, and we’re the only professional sport to do that.”
- More places to, um, go. The speedwaywill double the number of restrooms, making female fans everywhere happier.
- A better view. Seats on the stadium’s wings currently are 70 feet high, but after the renovation, the seating will be raised to a height of 140 feet. “You will have a much higher viewpoint with a greater sightline for a better view of all the action,” Santiago said.
- More hot spots to post your selfie to Facebook and Instagram. The stadium will have more Wi-Fi hotspots and better connectivity, and infrastructure will be in put in place to handle future technology needs, Santiago said.
- Free parking. It’ll still be free.
- More fun right around the corner. One Daytona will bring 1.1 million square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment footsteps from the speedway. The complex’s first phase will encompass 80 acres, and ultimately include residential and office space. The first phase will be anchored by Bass Pro Shops and Cobb Theatres.
The Daytona International Speedway is positioned as a year-round destination. Besides the major motorsporting events, the speedway is active 250 days of the year, Santiago said, and that doesn’t include tours, which run daily except for Christmas. Besides the major racing events, there are go-karting, private car club and RV rallies and other activities.
“With the completion of Daytona rising we are exploring expanding into non-racing events, such as NCAA football and international soccer matches,” he said.
If you go…
Daytona International Speedway
1801 W. International Speedway Boulevard
Daytona Beach, FL 32114