Daytona Rising Breaks Ground

Daytona Rising

Greg Biffle teamed with Trevor Bayne to win the race and help in the groundbreaking ceremonies. (Photo: Getty Images)


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  - They celebrated with a race. Why not? At the home of stock-car racing it was only fitting there would be a race. But this was a special race and special vehicles were needed.

Instead of cars, they used 20-ton wheel CAT front-loaders that NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and celebrities maneuvered through an obstacle course with the winner dumping a load of dirt on a particular mark first.

Along with a trophy, the winners got to climb into an excavator and perform the ground-breaking ceremonies for Daytona Rising, the new project to upgrade the frontstretch grandstands at Daytona International Speedway. The project features wider seats, additional video screens, more concession areas, more restrooms and numerous escalators among the fan amenities.

Consider it a facelift for the track, which hosted its first Daytona 500 in 1959.

“This is day 17 of 927,’’ said Joie Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway. “This is awesome. It’s a great way to kick it off. It’s big and bold and it is who Daytona is, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s going to be two-and-a-half years of ups and downs and lefts and rights and fast and slow, but we’ll get there. Come January of 2016 it’s going to be a phenomenal property. I think our fans are going to be blown away.’’

Greg Biffle teamed with Trevor Bayne to win the race and help in the groundbreaking ceremonies. Biffle was the first to break ground with the excavator. He and Bayne earned the honor by beating the pairings of Jeff Burton and Ryan Newman and Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds.

“It’s really exciting,’’ Biffle said. “The project of this scale, going to improve a facility like this, it’s already .. a world-class facility. To take it to the next level is really exciting. I can’t wait to see it done.’’

The redevelopment is expected to cost between $375 to $400 million.

“You think about what this company stands for, it’s about predicting the future and we’re going to create it for our fans, we’re going to create it for our sport,’’ Chitwood said about International Speedway Corp. “We couldn’t be more excited to give our fans the next best experience at a race track. For us, it’s the ability to turn this race track into a motorsports stadium.’’

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