As the NASCAR season kicks off in a few weeks, I turn my attention to Daytona International Speedway, the place built by Bill France Sr. himself, the founder of NASCAR, and home to the “Super Bowl of NASCAR” the Daytona 500.
As you walk up to the Speedway you are greeted by a statue of France Sr and of Dale Earnhardt Sr. who passed away at the track in 2001, and by Champions Walk of Fame, featuring hand and footprints of previous winners.
As you ride around the track it’s amazing to stare straight up at the 31° banking in the corners, and then get out and walk up the 18°s at the finish line, and realize that cars drive crooked on there approaching 200 MPH.
Meanwhile, you can glance up at the seating while the stands are empty, and see the great work done on the color patterns, to make it always appear from afar that every seat is taken.
The pit lane and Gatorade Victory Lane are appropriately blackened with tire marks, and when you stand there to take a picture you can feel the excitement in the air of being where some of the best drivers in the world stood (and the absence of some of the best from the aforementioned Walk of Fame, like Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Brad Keselowski).
Behind the pits are the endless garages, able to hold the teams from the Truck Series, Xfinity Series, and the NASCAR Cup Series, and among them the Fanzone, that can hold hundreds who want to party before the event, or spend time there during the race.
In the center of the track is Lake Lloyd, a 29-acre man-made lake, that is there to help control the water on the track, and is where they took the dirt from to form the banking around the track. The lake is full of fish and hosts speedboat races and fishing tournaments.
Also at the track is a museum that features the heritage of Daytona, from when they drove on the beach all the way thru the most recent winning car.
If you get a chance to go to Daytona, be sure to take the tour, it’s worth every penny to take the tour and walk on the track, climb the stands, and see a piece of racing history.