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.
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.
Everyone on board. The tour truck for commentary, historical facts and an inside view of what goes on at the track.
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.
During our tour we were lucky enough to see race cars in action.
You can see the cars going into inspection as well. The average speed on the track that day was around 135 mph.
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.
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.
The end is the Daytona International Speedway Wall of Winners.
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.
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
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
Hours: SELECT TUE, THU, SAT FROM 1-4PM