Daytona Refurb: An NFL Stadium for Racing

Daytona

(from Sports Business Journal, February 25, 2013) Daytona International Speedway has recently taken a progressive step towards a complete renovation of its legendary facility.  The first interior images of the facility were presented last week by the Track President, Joie Chitwood III.  The renovation is unlike anything NASCAR has seen before, and is more comparable to an NFL stadium.  Daytona has approval for a zoning change to its 53 year old track, which allows for the renovation.

The renovation process includes a reduction in the number of entrances from 19 to 5.  The main entrance will feature four escalators that lead to three main concourses, as well as towering glass and steel which will improve the overall appeal of the stadium.  The proposal also includes shortening the lengths of its rows to allow for easier access to its 11 concession areas, called “neighborhoods.”  Each “neighborhood” will be roughly the length of a football field and will be a major upgrade from Daytona’s current temporary concessions.  The goal is to promote the history of racing at Daytona while attracting new fans and satisfying the current fans.

The price for renovation has yet to be determined.  The facility’s hospitality plans and sponsorships are scheduled to be released within the next 2 months.  The final presentation of the proposal will be made to the International Speedway Corporation later this year.  The feedback on the renovation has been positive, and the possible impact on the sport of racing is considered to be significant.  “If you’re going to claim to be the ‘World Center of Racing’ or the Super Bowl of the sport, there’s an expectation that comes with that — big, grand, the best,” Chitwood said, “this renovation gives us a chance to say that. It supports who we are and the claim we can make that we are important.”

The renovation process is still in the beginning stages, but it is a process that will be critical to the innovation of racing.  All eyes will be on Daytona in the next year to see the final outcome of the transition to a stadium that would be unrivaled in racing.