Daytona International Speedway operates 250 days out of the year, hosting races for sports cars, stock cars, motorcycles, and go-karts. However, the largest racing spectacle to grace Daytona's raceway is the Daytona 500, the opening race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. As the home of the most popular sport in the United States, the Daytona International Speedway is nothing short of grand, but even the best stadiums need a little face lift once in a while. While Daytona 500 watchers won't notice anything different this year save for a bit of scaffolding and maybe a few blocked off sections, through the Daytona Rising project, the speedway is undergoing its first major renovation in 55 years. Its first major renovation ever, really.
It's no small task to remodel the 40 million tons of steel, asphalt and concrete that composes the raceway large enough to swallow up 14 football stadiums, nor will it be cheap, but Brandon McNulty, the International Speedway Corp.'s chief technology officer is up to the task of pulling this legendary sports stadium into the 21st century.
Daytona International Speedway
Final Completion 2016
The Daytona Rising project originally broke ground in 2013 and is slated to be finished by the beginning of the 2016 racing season after its extensive $400 million dollar renovation. At a glance, the project vows to double the number of restrooms, triple the number of concession stands and add in a few luxury suites. The project also boasts creating a number of shaded "neighbourhoods" where visitors to the stadium can go to use free WiFi and escape the occasionally balmy Florida sun. Daytona Rising will also increase the grandstands up 150 feet, adding in 40 escalators and 17 elevators for easier access. Essentially, they aim to transform this iconic facility once home to only the most diehard racing fans into a modern and inviting space.
While much of the funds are slated to expanding the stadium as well as making it more comfortable, a good deal is directed at upgrading the stadium's technology. The International Speedway Corp. is trying to give NASCAR fans a racing experience more akin to what they enjoy on the television. In order to make replays and cars stats available to those in the grandstands, the stadium is completely revamping its infrastructure in order to improve cell phone coverage, WiFi connectivity and beefing up the communication support for visiting media coverage.
Phone App to Provide Replays, Stats & Maps
The aim for their technological remodeling starts right when racing fans walk in. Through the Daytona International Speedway app, visitors will be directed to entrance nearest to their seats. During the race, they want fans to have the accessibility to information as they would from the television. To be able to bring up replays and racing stats through the app is a major focus for development. It's something that has been lacking during live races for some time, and the project hopes to bring it to the forefront. After the race is over, the app would be able to tell them which parking lot they were parked in, reserve them a seat on a shuttle to any off-site parking lots they parked in or provide traffic updates and the quickest route home. Those at the Daytona Rising project also recognize that there is a challenge to convincing the NASCAR crowd to opt into the tracking that the app wants to provide, however. By offering the option for e-tickets on any smart phone, ones that are just a one-click buy, the project hopes to convince fans of the value of the system and especially build faith in the younger demographic whose technological expectations are growing by the day.
Daytona International Speedway
The construction is still well underway as the Daytona International Speedway prepares for the 2015 Daytona 500 and NASCAR racing season, but thanks to a clever dance of alternate entrances, temporary ticket gates, separated walkways through construction zones and temporary seating, the racing season this year will yet again be undisturbed by the extensive renovations. If anything, racing fans that pay a visit to the Daytona International Speedway can expect to see some scaffolding but should get excited for the enhancements that are soon to be finished. Some of the lesser renovations are already complete and racing fans will be able to enjoy them this year, such as an additional 40,000 seats and 2 injectors.