Daytona International Speedway

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Daytona International Speedway
Nickname The World Center of Racing
Location 1801 West International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
Broke ground 1956
Opened 1959
Closed Open
Owner International Speedway Corporation
Operator International Speedway Corporation
Construction cost $3 million
Architect Charles Moneypenny
Bill France
Former names Daytona
Major events Rolex 24 at Daytona
NASCAR Nextel Cup
Daytona 500
Pepsi 400
Bud Shootout
Gatorade Duel
2006 NASCAR Busch Series
Hershey's Kissables 300
Winn-Dixie 2502006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
GM Flex Fuel 250
Seating capacity 167,785 (NASCAR)
Track shape Tri-oval, combined road course
Track length 2.5 miles (oval)
3.56 miles (road course)
2.95 miles (road course)
Track banking Turns - 31 degrees
Tri-Oval - 18 degrees
Straights - 2 degrees

Daytona International Speedway is a superspeedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is a 2.5 mile (4 km) tri-oval race track facility with a seating capacity of 168,000 spectators. It hosts races of motor vehicles of various kinds, including go-karts, dirt bikes, motorcycles, sports cars, modified pickup trucks, and stock cars. The facility also includes a 3.56 mile (5.7 km) road course and a 180-acre infield, including the 29 acre Lake Lloyd.

Course history

NASCAR was founded by William France Sr. at Daytona Beach, Florida in 1947. The original premiere event in the series was held at the Daytona Beach Road Course. France began planning a new track for the premiere event in his fledgling series in 1953. On August 16 1954 he signed a contract with city officials to create this new track that would become famous as the Daytona International Speedway. Ground was broken on November 25 1957. The soil underneath the banked corners was dug from the infield of the track, and the large hole in the infield was filled with water and is now known as Lake Lloyd. The speedway opened on February 22 1959 to a crowd of 41,000 people.

The NASCAR Championship's most important race, the Daytona 500, is held annually at Daytona International Speedway. It is a 200-lap, 500 mile (805 km) stock car race. The list of Daytona 500 winners is very long dating back to the inaugural race in 1959, and includes "The King" Richard Petty, and Dale Earnhardt.

NASCAR, the premier stock car organization in the United States, holds some of its most important races on this track. These include competitions in its Craftsman Truck Series (where pickup trucks are raced), Busch Series (the stock car junior league), and Nextel Cup series. The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is also held at Daytona.

The racing season begins at Daytona starting with the testing sessions. The year's racing begins with Speedweeks, starting with the 24 Hours of Daytona race in the Grand American Sports Car series. Then the racing begins for the Nextel Cup with the Budweiser Shootout and the Gatorade Duel. The Craftsman Truck Series begins with the GM Flex Fuel 250. The Busch Series begins with the Hershey's Kissables 300, and then it is back to the Nextel Cup in "The Great American Race," the Daytona 500. The Nextel Cup also features the Pepsi 400 in July at Daytona.

Lights were installed in 1998 so that the Pepsi 400 could be held at night. However, the race was delayed until October that year due to thick smoke from wildfires that summer. The Pepsi 400 has been held under lights ever since.

It also contains an attraction called Daytona USA. The winning car from the Daytona 500 is placed in front of the attraction building each year.

See also: List of NASCAR race tracks

Indy Racing League

On September 26 and 27, 2006 The Indy Racing League held a compatibility test on the 10-turn, 2.73-mile modified road course, and the 12-turn 2.95-mile motorcycle road course with 5 drivers. The drivers who tested at the track were Vitor Meira, 2006 Indy 500 Champion Sam Hornish Jr., Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, and Dan Wheldon. This marked the first time since 1959 that Indy Cars and the first time since 1984 an open wheel car have taken to the track at Daytona. The test seem to had a few incidents but none major. Overall it seem to have been a sucessful test. The Indy Racing League is looking to use Daytona's Road Course for preseason testing with the ultimate goal of having a race in Speedweeks 2008. [1]

Current races

Aerial view of Daytona International Speedway (undated), courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection
Main Entrance at night


Record Year Date Driver Car Make Time Average Speed
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series
Qualifying 1987 February 9 United States -- Bill Elliott Ford 42.783 210.364
Race (500 miles) 1980 February 17 United States -- Buddy Baker Oldsmobile 2:48:55 177.602
Race (400 miles) 1980 July 4 United States -- Bobby Allison Oldsmobile 2:18:21 173.473
NASCAR Busch Series
Qualifying 1987   United States -- Tommy Houston Buick 46.299 194.389
Race (300 miles) 1985 February 16 United States -- Geoff Bodine Pontiac 1:54:33 157.137
Race (250 miles) 2003 July 4 United States -- Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Chevrolet 1:37:35 153.715
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Qualifying 2000   United States -- Joe Ruttman Dodge 47.984 187.563
Race (250 miles) 2006 February 17 United States -- Mark Martin Ford 1:42:18 146.622

External links