Fast cars have never really been my thing. I’m more of a minivan driving Mom who, up until recently, never got a speeding ticket in her life. I didn’t grow up with Nascar nostalgia. So how did this happen? How did I end up touring Daytona International Speedway on a recent trip through Central Florida’s Daytona Beach area, and more importantly how did I find myself enjoying the experience, even plotting a return one day to see more? Well, let’s see….where should I start?
Sometimes I find myself in odd places. Sometimes I am incredibly surprised that I enjoy doing something I never thought I would. For instance, earlier this year when I learned to ski in Mont Tremblant. Sometimes as a travel blogger and lifestyle blogger I jump in and hope to be amazed. More often than not I am amazed and inspired. I remember feeling that keenly the year my daughter turned ten when we took the kids with us to Kennedy Space Centre. Impossible not to feel inspired when watching someone journey through the atmosphere in a rocket. I found a tiny bit of that feeling again at Daytona International Speedway.
Recently I was invited to Daytona Beach as part of a press trip to see some of the lesser known attractions, shops and restaurants. It was a whirlwind tour. The food was plentiful and surprisingly better than I ever imagined, the weather was lovely and the company was fabulous. You can read more about all the amazing things to do in Daytona Beach here in my 11 Fun Things to Do In Daytona Beach Post. And if you are looking for a place to stay while there you can’t go wrong with The Shores. But the Daytona International Speedway? Well, I was intrigued and curious and I knew my husband would want the scoop when I got home so I took it all in. From start to finish this space is really pretty amazing, and about to get even more remarkable.
While visiting Daytona Beach we toured various beaches and we visited downtown Deland and I ate my weight in food. And on the last day in Daytona Beach, well it was time for the showstopper of course. You can’t visit Daytona Beach without seeing Daytona International Speedway. I was excited to see the iconic backdrop of so many Nascar racing hero stories. I was interested to see up close what I have seen on TV over the years. Ultimately, I ended up learning more than I thought I would, and I was surprised to find this, the Daytona International Speedway, also is a fully accessible venue for people with mobility challenges living or visiting Daytona Beach. That is one of my biggest takeaways from the entire trip to Daytona Beach. Every spot we visited was accessible and there were dozens of signs also supporting that. I’m not saying that there aren’t some spots that you might find tricky if you travel with people who have mobility issues. But I didn’t see any obvious obstacles.
Anyways, back to the story at hand: the day I arrived at Daytona Beach airport and was picked up by a driver/ tour guide was literally the first time I ever set eyes on the speedway. I know almost everyone has seen Daytona International Speedway on TV, but even from the distance of hundreds of feet as we drove by, it was ridiculously impressive. Naive first time Daytona Beach tourist, I actually thought there were people in the stands as we whipped by on the way to The Shores. I tucked that away for later and didn’t mention it. I mean, I didn’t think there were any races happening in October, but the stands looked full of spectators. Odd, I thought.
Barely three minutes into the 30 minute tour of the Speedway and someone else asked: “Are the seats coloured?” Sure enough. Mystery solved. The seats are each coloured vibrant primary shades so that they read well on TV and the stands always look full. Mind Blown.
The tour we took was a quick one at thirty minutes and the guide hits on all the highlights while whisking you through the space on a trolly of sorts. Right now Daytona Rising is underway meaning there’s a $400 million dollar redevelopment project happening that is expected to be done by the end of this January. That means the world’s first motorsports stadium will have five expanded redesigned entrances or “Injectors.” The final project will consist of 101,500 permanent wider and more comfortable seats. There will be twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands.
There are numerous tours available throughout the year and you can learn more here at Daytona International Speedway site, if you want to do one when you are in town. Above we are standing in Victory Lane (a tourist must do).
The revamped vision is exciting. It will be a speedway for the coming decades, ready to welcome even more visitors, of all abilities, and ignite excitement. I’m not a race car driving fan girl or a pit bunny by any means. But what I enjoyed about this tour was seeing this iconic tourist mecca up close and getting to learn a bit more about the men and women who race there. It’s interesting to see the spot where Dale Earnhardt celebrated a victory that defined a generation of racing fans. The tour lets you feel as if you are walking in the footsteps of the great race car drivers.
I might not have been a massive racing fan when I arrived in Daytona Beach, but I left with a new appreciation for the sport and I even decided the Richard Petty Driving Experience would be a fantastic gift for my husband at some point in the future. If you ever find yourself in Daytona Beach, don’t forget to check out the Daytona International Speedway. It will get your pulse racing.
I was invited to Daytona Beach as part of a press trip. My flights, accommodations, adventures and food were all paid for while visiting Daytona Beach. My opinion is always 100 % truthful.