Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tour of the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, Florida

The Titusville area offers the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), beaches, the Canaveral National Seashore and many space/aviation related museums but the area has seen better days. Since the KSC was not our thing at $50 per person, we decided to drive up to Daytona Beach to take a tour of the International Speedway.

If you are a NASCAR fan then you know the significance of this track and the annual Daytona 500 race but if you aren’t (i.e. Suzanne)…well it’s THE race track of tracks and the 500 race is the Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup of races for NASCAR. Suzanne was *thrilled* to go but soon was impressed by the enormity of the race track and the facility. We also had a great tour guide that made the experience even more enjoyable.

There are three tours: Speedway (30 minutes), All Access (90 minutes) and the VIP (180 minutes). The Speedway tour is a drive around the track in an open trolley car where you can experience the high track banking in the corners and a drive through of the pits and garage areas. The All Access includes all that the Speedway tour offers plus you explore the garage area, get your photo in victory lane, watch the drivers video in the actual driver meeting room, get a birds-eye view of the track from a 7th story suite and get to see the winner car of the 2013 Daytona 500 race up close. 
The VIP tour includes all that the All Access tour offers but you travel in an air conditioned bus plus you get to see the Speedway Archives or museum. We chose the All Access Tour - I don’t think Suzanne would have lasted for 180 minutes.


Our first stop was the start/finish line of the race track. We were allowed to climb up the track and take pictures below the flag stand. I use the word climb because the track is banked by 13 degrees in this area and took a bit of effort to reach the top of the track. From here we had great views of turns 1 and 4 down the track. Everyone on the tour was surprised that this section of the track was not flat like it seems on TV.

We continued traveling down the track and into turns 1 and 2. Here the track is banked at 31 degrees and we were told a car must go 90 mph or faster in order to stay on the track. We were going well below the speed needed so we were on the bottom of the turn where it is flat. After seeing this you can image the G-forces these racers must feel going 200+ mph.


After completing a full lap of the track, we headed down pit lane past several pit stalls and then Victory Lane. Here we got to take pictures of us standing like the winning teams and drivers do after the race. It was a cool perspective and of course looks much bigger on TV.


Our next stop was the garage 

and fan zone area of the infield. Here we got see the drivers’ video that they must watch before the race

and we were able wander around seeing several cars in the garages as well as the car inspection area.

Off we went to the 7th floor luxury suite above the grand stands. Views from the suite were expansive and included a view of the entire track and the infield. It takes big bucks to rent these suites so it was fun to experience it at least once. That is, unless someone wants to get us a suite….it’s only $90,000…….

Finally the tour ended at the theater where we watched a short movie on the history of the track. Then we were able to see the number 48 car that won the last 500 race. Exiting the tour took us into the gift shop – funny how all tours end in the gift shop, huh.

The tour was great and I would recommend it to anyone. Any yes even non-race fan Suzanne enjoyed the tour.

Here are a few more pictures for ya~

"Hey Brad, the race is over! Stop watching!"

More cool photos......
Heading into turn 1
View of the grand stands from the infield
Coming out of turn 4 and heading for the finish line
The car pits
Brad reminding the drivers that it's a left turn.

Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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