DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The project included 31 million pounds of steel, 101,000 new seats, 40 escalators, 17 elevators and stretched nearly a mile. It took 2 ½ years to complete and even had its own nickname: Daytona Rising.
It was a mammoth, $400 million makeover to NASCAR's most famous track, a ground-up restoration that turned some old, rickety grandstands into the world's finest motorsports stadium.
The Daytona International Speedway renovation is complete and ready for its official debut — at the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday.
"We want people to be blown away when they come to this property," track president Joie Chitwood III said. "You think about the history and the heritage, the legends of our sport made their name here, and now this property really matches that."
Daytona Rising has turned heads and left visitors in awe since its completion last month. It boasts vibrant colors, grandiose displays and unique exhibits — and that's just outside the stadium walls. Inside, the finished product is home to more than 100,000 square feet of fan engagement space.
"It's like a football stadium, but taken to the next level and magnified 20 times," former Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray said.
The centerpieces of the redesign are the injectors, five fan entrances that showcase sponsors and include more than 20,000 square feet of educational and entertainment space. The injectors also include bigger and more bathroom locations and countless dining choices. Throw in more than 1,200 televisions, and fans can leave their seats without missing any on-track action.
Pileup in practice
Kyle Larson was involved in a multi-car accident during Daytona 500 practice Wednesday, a pileup that occurred after Ty Dillion cracked an oil cooler between Turns 1 and 2.
Dillon spewed oil on the track and on other drivers' windshields, and as cars behind him tried to slow, Michael Waltrip ran into the back of Ryan Newman. Both cars spun, and Waltrip hit the outside wall. He was transported to the infield care center, evaluated and released. Larson and Chris Buescher also were caught up in the mess, and the damage to Larson's car was bad enough that his team opted to move to the backup.
To the back of the field
Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne will start in the back of the field in their Daytona 500 qualifying race Thursday.
Both of their teams changed rear gears following issues Wednesday, an adjustment that caused them to lose their qualifying spots for the Cam-Am Duels.