Daytona Rising Project caters to fans

$400 million dollar investment, expected completion in Jan. 2016

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Gone are the days when fans attend sporting events specifically for the game, race or ball-game. Today's fans want amenities in addition to the main event and the Daytona Rising project has been created with that in mind.

"We didn't just replace the seats or build escalators, we really changed the experience for our fans," said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood. "We're taking the Daytona International Speedway and turning it into the first and only motor sports stadium. It's a great new way for fans to enjoy and experience the racing we have here at Daytona International Speedway."

Yes the installation of 17 new elevators and 40 escalators will allow fans to navigate the concourse much easier. The Daytona Rising program took it one step further creating 11 "neighborhoods" that are each the size of a football field. Attendees will be able to access Wi-Fi to stay connected socially all while maintaining an open sightline to the track, as well as dozens of video screens so they never miss any of the action on the race track.

"We learned early on that fans don't go to sporting events anymore," said Chitwood. "They go to social events that include sports. We had to make sure that we had those types of elements built into this design. Five years ago we would've never designed the property this way. We wouldn't have thought of the social aspect of a sporting event. Those neighborhoods satisfy the social elements that our fans are looking for."

This $400 million renovation was undertaken with more than just NASCAR in mind. Upon completion the goal is to eventually attract concerts, football games and international soccer friendlies. There isn't a bad seat in the venue. Every chair now includes a cup holder and an arm rest. Several of the old seats didn't include either.

"It's hard to believe that in a two-and-a-half year project we only have six months left to go," said Chitwood. "It's been an interesting two years in terms of half of the property being built and running a hybrid model for our events. Right now with six months to go were schedule and on budget. We've got a lot of work to do but by mid-January we're going to have a completed project. With six months left to go the checkered flag is right in front of us, its waving and I think we're going to it really soon."