Daytona International Speedway
By James | Last updated December 6, 2023
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The Daytona International Speedway (DIS) is one of the premier speedway tracks in the USA and is located in Daytona Beach close to Daytona Beach International Airport and Interstate I-95. Nearest Amtrak station is Deland with a ThruWay “bus/taxi” connection to Daytona Beach.
It is home to many famous motorcycle, car and truck race series including the NASCAR Daytona 500, Daytona 200, Coke Zero 400 and the Rolex 24.
The venue opened in 1959 and has a total capacity of over 167,000. Redevelopment of the grandstands in 2016 reduced the permanent seating capacity to around 101,500 but this could be increased to 125,000.
At 480 acres, it is one of the largest sporting venues in the world and the layout of the course with its banked track and grandstands means that 90% of the track is visible from any seat in the grandstands.
There are several different tracks incorporated into the speedway:
- 2.5 mile (4 km) NASCAR Tri-Oval
- 3.56 mile (5.73 km) Sports Car Course
- 2.95 mile (4.75 km) Motorcycle Course
- 0.25 mile (0.40 km) Dirt Flat Track
- Lake Lloyd powerboat course
The Tri-Oval is the main circuit with amazing 31-degree banking on the two main turns and 18 degrees on the tri-oval turn at the Start/Finish line. The main grandstands look out over the first and last turns, the Start/Finish line and pit lanes with a smaller grandstand at the start of the back straight.
Inside the Tri-Oval is the 180-acre infield which houses the pit area, UNOH Fanzone, Lake Lloyd and campgrounds for both tents and motor homes.
There are around eight major race meetings each year starting with the Rolex 24 in January, Daytona 500 in February followed by the Daytona 200 motorcycle race in March. The Coke Zero 400 takes place in July.
Daytona International Speedway Tickets
On race days, you can watch the race from one of the grandstands or to see more of the pre-race action you can buy a ticket to the UNOH Fanzone in the infield where you can see the drivers and the cars before the race. You can even take a tour of the garages and see the pit crews in action.
On most race days, there is live music entertainment and food and drink are available at the Budweiser Bistro.
If you fancy camping or own an RV you can set up the pitch on the GEICO Infield or the GEICO Park West campgrounds.
Daytona International Speedway Tours
You can take a tour of Daytona International Speedway though access is either stopped or restricted during race meetings. Tours last from between one and three hours and tickets can be purchased online or at the Ticket & Tours Building.
All tours now include a digital photo package.
The shortest tour is the Speedway Tour where you take a trip around the track, see the infield and pit road area and ride through the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage. Tours run between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily and last about one hour.
Prices are $25 for adults and $20 for children (aged 5 to 12). Children aged 4 and under are free.
The most comprehensive tour is the VIP Tour which includes access to the NASCAR Archives & Research Center and Press Box, the Axalta Injector and the infield of Daytona International Speedway. You also get a chance to view the current champion Daytona 500 car.
The tour ends at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and lasts about two and a half hours.
The price is $55 per person and advanced bookings are recommended.
All Access Field Trip
The All Access Field Trip is designed for students and lasts 60 minutes.
The tour covers the history of racing in the area, learning what is needed to be a NASCAR driver, visiting the start/finish line, riding down the pit lane and getting a photo with a champion Daytona 500 car.
Tours run between 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
As well as the tours you can also look around the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (originally housed in Novi, Michigan).
As well as a display of the 230 odd Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductees, it also houses an amazing display of all sorts of sporting automobiles including stock cars, sports cars, motorcycles, dragsters, land speed record machines, powerboats and even aircraft.
The Hall of Fame is open from 10:00 until 5:00 p.m. daily and it is also open on race days.
If you go on the Speedway Tour or the VIP Tour then admission is free, otherwise prices are $12 for adults and $7 for children (aged 5 to 12). Children aged 4 and under are free.
Daytona 500 Experience
The Daytona 500 Experience (formerly known as Daytona USA) was an interactive motorsports attraction at Daytona International Speedway but it closed to the public in 2010 and is now effectively replaced by the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Controversially ever since 1997 each year, the winner of the Daytona 500 must hand over their winning car to be displayed in race-winning condition at the Daytona International Speedway for the next 12 months.
Richard Petty Driving Experience
For the more adventurous, it is even possible to drive or be driven around the circuit at speeds of up to 165 mph, with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, in a 600 HP NASCAR race car.
Ride-Along experiences start at around $215 for 3 laps in the passenger seat and if you want to actually get behind the wheel yourself, prices start from around $449 and go up into the thousands depending upon the number of laps.
The Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando used to offer the same Richard Petty Driving packages as Daytona International Speedway but it closed in 2015 to make way for more car parking for the Magic Kingdom!
The various Driving packages are only available on selected dates so reservations are essential and not all cars are available at each location.
Daytona Beach Bike Week
The Daytona Beach Bike Week is one of the biggest motorcycle events in the USA with around 500,000 visitors expected of the 10-day event. It takes place each year in March and coincides with the Daytona 200 Week.
A second major event, the Daytona Biketoberfest is usually on the weekend immediately after Columbus Day in October.
History of Racing in Daytona International Speedway
Daytona has long been associated with speed. Many of the early land speed attempts in modified racing cars took place on the sands of Daytona Beach dating back to the early 1900s. The last land speed attempts were in 1935 before moving to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah but production cars continued to race until the 1950s.
The original Daytona Beach Road Course on both the beach and Highway A1A was important in the founding of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and NASCAR is still very much a part of Daytona to this day. The old course closed when the new purpose-built Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959.