If you have plans to visit Daytona in the near future, don’t miss a trip to Daytona International Speedway. This is where you find the true heart and soul of what Daytona is all about.
Wouldn’t you love to camp out for a week on the track, in the middle of all the fun and energy that is built up around Daytona 500? This is definitely on my bucket list. But, as it happens, life gets in the way and I can’t go to all the cool racing events. But having the opportunity to tour the track where NASCAR races occur is perfect for my family and me.
Learning All About Daytona Racing – Taking the Tour
The history of this amazing place brings it to life and made it even more interesting.
Historic Facts about Daytona International Raceway
- William France Sr. founded NASCAR and in 1953 starting planning for the track.
- A parcel of land of 447 acres (181 ha) adjacent to Daytona Beach International Airport was leased by the city commission to France’s corporation for $10,000 a year over a 50 year period.
- The track was finally built in 1958. It was meant 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 was later stocked with 65,000 fish, and France started arranging speedboat races on it.
- The last phases of the construction were completed with the money from ticket sales because France had run out of money.
- On 1959, around 41,000 people attended the inaugural Daytona 500.
- In April 4 of 1959, the Daytona International Speedway 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 its opening has been the home of the Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR.
- Bill Elliott set the record of over 210 MPH set on February 9, 1987.
- Today it is the third largest single lit outdoor sports facility. The lights were installed around the track in 1998.
What You See and Do on the Tour
The tours begin at the main building. The staff gives you the chance to choose between three different tours that can range between 30 minutes to three hours.
You then hop on the tour truck where you will get commentary, historical facts and an inside view of what goes on at the track.
There is a renovation going on that will be completed in 2016. By the time the renovation is finished it will kick every racetracks’ butts. This will also attract tons of tourists and race car junkies.
We were lucky enough to get there as a few race cars were in action. You can also rent time on the track as well as a racing car if you want to do more than seeing the action..
Seeing the cars going through inspection is another thing that you can do. The average speed on the track that day was around 135 mph.
I didn’t get a victory cup or a champagne bottle to spray everyone with but we did get the chance to hang out at Victory Lane. This is where all the greatest Daytona 500 racers stand to receive their glory.
Just as the tour was approaching to its end we got off the bus and checked out the winning car of this year’s Daytona 500 which belongs to Jimmie Johnson for the second time.
The end is a visit to the Daytona International Speedway Wall of Winners.
More Interesting Facts That You Didn’t Know About the Speedway
- The Daytona International Speedway holds the most prestigious NASCAR race the Daytona 500 in North America. This place is known as the “World Center of Racing.”
- It is the second largest oval on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Circuit.
- The International Speedway is also the largest outdoor stadium in Florida.
- The track’s 180-acre (73 ha) infield includes the 29-acre (12 ha) Lake Lloyd.
- There is no bad seat. 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.
- Famous NASCAR drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, died in crashes at Daytona International Speedway. April 4 of 1959 was the occasion of Daytona’s first fatality: George Amick. He was attempting to overtake for third late in the race, hit a wall and died.
- Richard Petty has had the most victories of the Daytona 500.
- Chevrolet is the most successful car here, with 22 wins in Daytona 500.
- Bill Elliott’s qualifying record of over 210 MPH set on February 9, 1987 will never be broken. That is because it was set before the use of restrictor plates.
Events at Daytona International Speedway
- Daytona 500 – February 23
Prices: from $65 to $680, check price map for details
- Budweiser Speedweeks – February 15-23
- Coke Zero 400 – July 5
Prices: from $45 to $160, check price map for details
Information for Visiting Daytona International Speedway
- 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
- Price: $50
- Hours: SELECT TUE, THU, SAT FROM 1-4PM