Iracing Around:/I Daytona
December 17, 2005 | 11:41 A.M. EST
Full Track Name: Daytona International Speedway
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
Population: 64,442 (U.S. Census Estimate)
Time Zone: Eastern
NEXTEL Cup: Bud Shootout (Feb. 11), Gatorade Duel At Daytona (Feb. 16), Daytona 500 (Feb. 19), Pepsi 400 (July 1)
Busch Series: Hershey's Kissables 300 (Feb. 18), Winn Dixie 250 (June 30)
Craftsman Trucks: Daytona 250 / IROC (Feb. 17)
Others: Rolex 24 At Daytona (Jan. 28-29), Brumos Porsche 250 (June 29)
They don’t call Daytona International Speedway “The World Center of Racing” because it is a catchy slogan. The track is home to the biggest NASCAR race of the year, the DAYTONA 500. The “Great American Race” is not only the most popular race of the year because it attracts the largest audience, both at the track and on television, but also because it is the birthplace of NASCAR. Is it any wonder that this is the track that every driver wants to win at?
In addition to nine major weekends of racing activity, featuring everything from NASCAR to the Rolex Sports Car Series to the American Motorcyclist Association and the World Karting Association, the Speedway is also booked for more than two solid months each year for testing and development of various race vehicles.
No matter when you visit, watching a race from inside Daytona International Speedway is easily one of the most thrilling experiences in a person’s lifetime.
How to Get There
If you are flying to the races, the best airport to fly into is Daytona Beach International Airport. The airport is literally just feet away from the track and there are plenty of hotels in the nearby area for those who don’t want to encounter heavy traffic on race days.
For those coming from the south of the area or flying into Orlando International Airport, the best route to take to the track is Interstate-4 East until it merges into Interstate 95. There are several exits for Daytona that offer different entrances to the area.
If you are traveling from north of Daytona, take I-95 to U.S. 1 (exit 273). From there, go South on US-1 to S.R. 40 (Granada Blvd.) then west (right) on S.R. 40 to Clyde Morris Blvd. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Best Seats in the House
While you really can’t go wrong no matter where you sit, there is one area of seats that everybody wants but only a select few ever get to experience: The DAYTONA Club
The acclaimed Daytona Club is a one-of-a-kind hospitality venue that takes entertainment to stratospheric levels. The white peaks of this vast pavilion are visible from almost every vantage point at the track. By all accounts, the impressive exterior of the Daytona club is only surpassed by the surprises and wonders that lie within.
The exclusive Daytona Club package includes reserved seats in the NEXTEL Tower, with in-seat service (on a cash basis), as well as a NEXTEL FANZONE & Pre-Race Pass and access to the world class Daytona Club pavilion with continuous food and beverage service.
DIS offers one of the most unique infield experiences in the NEXTEL Cup circuit with the NEXTEL FANZONE.
Not only will you be able to get closer than ever before with your NEXTEL FANZONE ticket, the Pre-Race Pass also allows fans to walk across the track surface, over the grassy Tri-Oval area and onto Pit Road during Pre-Race activities. Once you have reached the pre-race area, the possibilities are endless! There is typically pre-race entertainment, such as a band for your enjoyment. Often teams will be staging cars, and setting up pit stalls. Pre-race activities normally include driver introductions and other special events that you can take in.
What else is there to do?
Located in the heart of Daytona, DIS has many cities within a short distance. You can reach Orlando by going West on Interstate 4 and be there within 45 minutes. Also, St. Augustine is within an hours drive while Jacksonville is only a two-hour drive from Daytona. To get to either location, head north on Interstate 95.
Because it is only a short distance from Orlando, a visit to DIS isn’t complete without a trip to one of Orlando’s many theme parks. Whether you seek thrills (Universal Studios), a time fulfilling childhood fantasies (Walt Disney World), or want to get in touch with nature (Sea World), any one of the various theme parks can fulfill your needs.
Also, if you are in the area during the summer months, you can always cool off at Daytona’s water park (Daytona Lagoon), or one of the many in Orlando (Wet n’ Wild and Blizzard Beach are just one of many).
Where to Stay
Daytona is a bustling area that hosts many big events through the year, so the area is suited with hotels for people on various types of budgets. With the amount of crowds that come to the races, plan to make reservations with plenty of anticipation.
If Daytona is sold out, or if you want to be near the attractions, Orlando has plenty of hotels and is close enough that driving back and forth won’t be a hassle.
For those with Recreational Vehicles, DIS has ample accommodations in their infield area. Visit racetickets.com for restrictions and pricing information.
Can’t Miss Experience
While most tracks have some sort of Hall of Fame, none have anything compared to DAYTONA USA.
DAYTONA USA is a 60,000-square-foot interactive motorsports attraction that is the world-class showplace to soak in the history of America's fastest sport! From the heart-pounding thunder of bumper-to-bumper competition on the historic high banks of Daytona International Speedway, to the high octane thrills and spills of high-tech motion simulators - catch all the energy and non-stop excitement of DAYTONA USA, The Ultimate Motorsports Attraction
By The Way…
One of the first things you will notice when you enter DIS is that there is a big lake in the infield. That lake, Lake Lloyd, was actually created out of necessity as it was used by the track builders so they could have enough dirt to create the 31-degree high banks. It was initially 44 acres, but after renovations it has been reduced to 29 acres. There’s fish inside the lake and from its inception to the late 1980s, drivers fished in the lake when they weren't working on their cars.
If You Need More to Feed Your Racing Fix
The Central Florida area has various tracks that will host events during DIS races, ensuring that fans that need more racing can see it. Within an hour of Daytona, tracks like Volusia Speedway Park and New Smyrna Speedway have competitive races that will keep everybody interested.