Daytona International Speedway – Daytona 500

by | Mar 3, 2019 | Chris Green, NASCAR

Fanfare Score

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4.29

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The Great American Race

The Super Bowl, or each sports’ respective equivalent, is traditionally the final game of the year. NASCAR’s version, however, is the first race on the calendar – the Daytona 500 is not just an exciting race, but is arguably one of the most historic races in the world.

Food & Beverage   4

There is plenty to eat at Daytona in the paddock and beneath the grandstands in the main concourses. From drinks, coffee, and traditional stadium fare to more eclectic choices, the variety is impressive. During the 24 Hours, there are also a variety of places to get food throughout the infield for fans. From the various bars that pop up near the main displays to simple hot dog and arepa stands around the main walkways, you will never have any issues finding something to eat. The downside for fans attending either the Truck or Xfinity races on the days before the big race, however, is that only select food stands on the lower concourse are open.

Atmosphere   5

There’s nothing quite like the Daytona 500 – whether you’re watching the big race on Sunday or the smaller races leading up to the big show on Friday night or on Saturday, you know you’re watching history. The best drivers battle it out for the biggest trophy of the year, and the racing is thrilling 200 mile per hour action that few tracks elsewhere can offer. The fans pack the stands and cheer with fervor during every lap of every race, and the atmosphere is electric.

The track itself is stunning as well – the updates to the main grandstand (thanks to the Daytona Rising project a few years ago) have made the seating outside the infield extremely comfortable for fans. Also, with main concourses that are easy to navigate and concessions stands all over, it feels more like a visit to a professional sports stadium for the Super Bowl than it does a car race.

Neighborhood   4

Daytona is a party town from days gone past when tourists flocked to the beaches during the summer months. However, the sun isn’t always so warm in North Florida in January. Nonetheless, the beaches are still just a few miles away from the track, and in addition, right across the street from the track sit numerous stores, malls, and restaurants. From Chipotle and Panera to Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, there are plenty of places to shop and eat at during your stay.

Fans   5

Sold out crowds for the Great American Race are commonplace. Once again, the 2019 race added itself to that long history of sellout events – from the packed camping spots in the infield to the grandstands along the front stretch, there are fans as far as the eye can see. They root for their favorite drivers and teams, and make it no mystery as to whom they are cheering for.

Access   4

Parking at the track is plentiful; not only are there on-site parking lots for various parking passes, but the track also hosts various off-site parking options for fans to use, as long as you’re willing to walk. For those who would rather take a ride, trams are also available to shuttle you in and out of the track from numerous parking lots, as well as to take you from one point to another at the track itself.

The biggest downside here is the prices you will pay for parking (upwards of $50 the day of the Daytona 500), and the incredibly annoying traffic patterns after the race is over – what side of the street you park on will determine how long it will take you to get out of the track and back to your hotel.

Return on Investment   5

Tickets to the Daytona 500 can start at $100 on the low end and go higher with better seating. By far this is one of the most expensive races on the circuit, but it is also the one that matters the most. To win the Daytona 500 is to cement yourself into sports history, and that makes this ticket a prime get.

Make sure to take in every moment of the day, as going to this race is something sports fans all over the world dream of being able to do. This is NASCAR’s Masters Tournament, Super Bowl, and World Series wrapped into one glorious afternoon under the warm Florida sun.

Extras   3

The track features a massive fan zone outside the main entrance, full of giveaways and interactive displays, and fans who have infield access also can get close to the action, with the garages situated so you can get an up-close view of the cars and teams working toward the next on track session.

You can also see how the track’s inspection process works in the infield, thanks to fan viewing areas of the inspection zones NASCAR has set up for the cars.

Final Thoughts

The Daytona 500 is full of pageantry, power, and historic significance. To witness the Great American Race is to join with NASCAR’s most passionate fans to witness a truly awesome spectacle. NASCAR fans are among sports’ most loyal fan bases, and there is no event that captures that more than Daytona’s Speedweeks. Without a doubt, this is one of the top events of the entire sports year that fans of all interest levels should endeavor to see.

  

 

Food and Drink Recommendations

 

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant

1780 W International Speedway Blvd

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

(386) 255-0019

https://www.olivegarden.com/locations/fl/daytona-beach/daytona-beach/


 

 

LongHorn Steakhouse

2504 W International Speedway Blvd

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

(386) 258-3313

https://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/locations/fl/daytona-beach/daytona-beach/


 
 

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Entertainment Recommendations

 

Historic Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

(386) 255-0415

https://www.daytonabeach.com/things-to-do/arts-culture/historical-sites/


 

 

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, SR 405

Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

(855) 433-4210

https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/


 

 

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Lodging Recommendations

 

 

Extended Stay America – Daytona Beach – International Speedway

255 Bill France Blvd

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

(386) 257-4311

https://www.extendedstayamerica.com/hotels/fl/daytona-beach/international-speedway/


 

 

 

WoodSpring Suites Daytona Speedway

2910 W International Speedway Blvd

Daytona Beach, FL 32124

(386) 333-6512

https://www.woodspring.com/woodspring-suites-daytona-speedway/


 
 
 

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Stadium Info

Daytona International Speedway
1801 West International Speedway Blvd
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Daytona 500 website

Daytona International Speedway website

Year Opened: 1959

Capacity: 167,785

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