Daytona Racing – Feel the Energy

Visiting Daytona, Florida? Don’t you dare miss a trip to Daytona International Speedway. This is what the true heart and soul of Daytona Beach Florida is all about.

Who wouldn’t love to camp out for one week during the crazy, fun, insane energy that is built around Daytona 500? This is one of my dreams. Yet life gets in the way and since I am not part of the racing community and can not make it a priority, taking a tour of the most famous NASCAR racetrack in the world works well for my family and me.

Daytona racing

Learning all about Daytona Racing – Taking the Tour

As with every great place history brings it to life.

Historic Facts about Daytona International Raceway

  • NASCAR founder William France Sr. began planning for the track in 1953.

  • The city commission agreed to lease the 447 acres (181 ha) parcel of land adjacent to Daytona Beach International Airport to France’s corporation for $10,000 a year over a 50 year period.

  • The track was built in 1958 to host racing that was being held at the former Daytona Beach Road Course.

  • To build the high banking, crews had to dig out tons of soil from the track’s infield.

  • Because of the high water table in the area, the hole excavated filled with water to form what is now known as Lake Lloyd. The lake got stocked with 65,000 fish, and France would arrange speedboat races on it.

  • By December 1958, France had begun to run out of money and started relying on race ticket sales to complete construction.

  • On February 22, 1959, 41,000 people attended the inaugural Daytona 500.

  • In april 4 of 1959, it would host a 100 mi Champ Car event and with an average speed 170.26 mph (274.01 km/h) it was at the time the fastest motor race ever.

  • Since opening it has been the home of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR.

  • Bill Elliott set the qualifying record of over 210 MPH set on February 9, 1987.

  • Lights were installed around the track in 1998, and today it is the third largest single lit outdoor sports facility.

What You See and Do on the Tour

The tour begins at the main building of the tours center. You can choose three different tours raging between 30 minutes – three hours.

Daytona Speedway tours

Everyone on board. The tour truck for commentary, historical facts and an inside view of what goes on at the track.

Daytona Racing tour

The renovation, a $400 million project called Daytona Rising, is being built and will be completed by Speedweeks in 2016. Plus bring tons of tourism and race car junkies that will have a whole new place to play.

Coke Zero 400 Daytona International Speedway

During our tour we were lucky enough to see race cars in action.

Daytona Racing - practice runs on Daytona speedway

You can see the cars going into inspection as well. The average speed on the track that day was around 135 mph.

renting race cars for the day at daytona speedway

Where is my victory cup and my champagne bottle? I need to shake it up too! I guess we don’t really deserve it, but we did get a chance to hang out on Victory Lane where all the greatest Daytona 500 racers stand to receive their glory.

Victory Land at Daytona International speedway

Towards the end of the tour we got off the bus and headed to see the winning car of this year’s Daytona 500 which belongs to Jimmie Johnson, he has won this race two times The car is placed here for everyone who visits to get to see it up close.

Daytona 500 2013 Winner

The end is the Daytona International Speedway Wall of Winners.

Wall of Winners at Daytona Speedway

More Interesting Facts That You Didn’t Know About the Speedway

  • The Daytona International Speedway is the most prestigious NASCAR race track in North America. It is known as the “World Center of Racing.”

  • Daytona is the second largest oval on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Circuit.

  • Daytona International Speedway is the largest outdoor stadium in Florida.

  • The track’s 180-acre (73 ha) infield includes the 29-acre (12 ha) Lake Lloyd, which has hosted powerboat racing.

  • 90% of the course can be seen from any seat.

  • When the track opened it was the fastest race track to ever host a stock car race, until Talladega Superspeedway opened 10 years later.

  • NASCAR drivers like Dale Earnhardt, died in crashes at Daytona International Speedway. On april 4 of 1959 was the occasion of Daytona’s first fatality: George Amick, attempting to overtake for third late in the race, hit a wall and was killed.

  • Richard Petty has had the most Daytona 500 victories at 7.

  • Chevrolet is the most successful car here, with 22 wins in the 500.

  • Bill Elliott’s qualifying record of over 210 MPH set on February 9, 1987 will never be broken since the record was set before the use of restrictor plates.

Video Fun

Events at Daytona International Speedway

  • Rolex 24 – Jan 25 2014

Prices: Kids 12 & under are FREE; 4 Day Pass $80; Two-day admission (grandstand only) $35; Two-day admission (infield and grandstand) $40

  • Daytona 500 – Feb 23

Prices: from $65 to $680, check price map for details

  • Budweiser Speedweeks – Feb 15 – 23

  • Coke Zero 400 – July 5

Prices: from $45 to $160, check price map for details

Information for Visiting Daytona International Speedway

For more details about tours go here 

  • Speedway Tour

Price: Adults $16; Kids 6 to 12 $10; Kids under 5 free.

Hours: DAILY AT 11:30AM, 1:30PM, 3:30PM, 4PM

  • All Access Tour

Price: Adults $23; Kids 6 to 12 $17; Kids under 5 free.

Hours:  DAILY AT 10AM-3PM EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR

  • VIP Tour

Price: $50

Hours: SELECT TUE, THU, SAT FROM 1-4PM

 

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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

4 Responses to Daytona Racing – Feel the Energy

  1. The Guy says:

    It sounds like you might have visited the tour close to the same time I did. I was there in mid-December 2013 and went with close to zero interest in NASCAR racing. Having said that I found the experience to be an opportunity to learn more about the sport and the history. You can see my review here http://flightsandfrustration.com/daytona-raceway-tours/

    You present a lot of great facts here which really helps to understand the true history of what is undoubtedly a very famous race, particularly for Americans.
    The Guy recently posted..Hongmei Lu Shanghai – Drinking On The Hongmei Pedestrian StreetMy Profile

  2. Daytona is a pretty neat place! Thanks for sharing all of the interesting facts about the raceway.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..20 Stories from SnowedOutAtlanta That Will Restore Faith in HumanityMy Profile

  3. connie toner says:

    was here in november injoyed it

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