The Original American Beach has just invested close to $2 billion in renovations and construction, from an oceanfront rollercoaster, a new planetarium, the new Cici and Hyatt Museum of Art, a $5 million renovation of the Volusia Mall and a groundbreaking on a major convention hotel. Of course, the biggest draw to the area is "The World Center of Racing," the Daytona International Speedway, which just finalized a $400 million renovation.
The 30-month, massive overhaul includes five expanded and redesigned entrances, or “injectors,” which lead fans to escalators and elevators servicing three concourse levels. Each level features new "neighborhoods" where fans can hang out and socialize. The speedway now has 101,500 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands. In addition, 60 luxury suites offer stellar track-side views.
What to See
Daytona International Speedway is open to the public 9 am to 5 pm daily. Visitors are invited to tour the racetrack and its facilities and see for themselves the amazing high-banked turns, drivers' garages and even Denny Hamlin's winning car from the 2016 Daytona 500. Visitors can shop the latest NASCAR collectibles in the gift shop or test their own racing skills at the arcade. For those looking for a greater thrill, the Richard Petty Driving Experience delivers. Choose from a $139 ride-along package where you can round the track three times at an exhiliarating 160 mph driven by a professional instructor. For the ultimate bucket-list experience, and at a price of $2,199, you can take the wheel yourself in three, eight-lap driving segments.
Of course the main events at the Daytona International Speedway are the world-famous races, including the Daytona 500 in February and the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held each Fourth of July. But the speedway also plays host to an array of events all year. Memorial Day weekend is the inaugural Country 500, The Great American Music Fest at Daytona, where Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson and Chris Stapleton will take the stage. June 17-19 is the Redbull Global Rallycross, where drivers ride through asphalt, dirt and table-top jumps. And every Thanksgiving brings the largest classic car show in the United States, when 6,000 classic cars come to Daytona International Speedway’s famous infield.
- The Speedway opened in 1959 and started hosting the Daytona 200 in 1961.
- Dale Earnhardt Sr. won 34 times at Daytona, the most of any driver. He only won one Daytona 500, though, and was killed at the track during the 2001 Daytona 500.
- The first Rolex 24 was held in 1962 and lasted three hours.
- In 1963, the Coke Zero 400 went from 250 laps to 400.
- The first woman to race the Daytona 500 was Janet Guthrie in 1977.
- Tony Stewart has won the Coke Zero 400 four times but never the DAYTONA 500.
- Jeff Gordon got his first win at Daytona in 1994.
- Darrell Waltrip, who drove the #17 car, won the DAYTONA 500 on his 17th try.
- Mario Andretti and AJ Foyt are the only two drivers that have won the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500.