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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The historic Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is one of the most well-known sports car races in the world. A twice-round-the-clock endurance battle that attracts the best manufacturers and drivers from around the world, this race is on any true race fan's bucket list. Aside from that, it should be on the bucket list for any sports fan in general.
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There is plenty to eat at Daytona in the paddock and beneath the grandstands in the main concourses. From drinks, coffee and traditional stadium fare to more eclectic choices, the variety is impressive. During the 24 Hours, there is also a variety of places to get food throughout the infield for fans. From the Patron bar that pops up near the main displays to simple hot dog and arepa stands around the main walkways, you will never have any issues finding something to eat.
There's nothing quite like being at a 24-hour endurance race. The feeling is electric as the race begins in the afternoon. As the sun sets, the lights come on and the look and feel of the race takes on another face. The smell of race fuel, the glow of the brakes in the cold night, the sound of engines roaring lap after lap. The infield campfires grow more numerous and the party picks up only as the night darkens. As the morning creeps back, a sense of urgency creeps in as the end nears. And when the checkered flag falls, the celebration begins. Mix into that a weekend full of pre-race support events, practice sessions, and qualifying laps, you have no shortage of on-track action to see.
Daytona is a party town from days gone past, when tourists flocked to the beaches during the summer months. However, the sun isn't always so warm in North Florida in January. Nonetheless, the beaches are still just a few miles away from the track. In addition, right across the street from the track sit numerous stores, malls, and restaurants. From Chipotle and Panera to Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, there are plenty of places to shop and eat during your stay.
The fans at the 24 are like no others in racing. They are diehards who know the sport inside and out, and they are not afraid to show their allegiances to their favorite driver, team, or car manufacturer. They also know how to party like few others, and they're also among the most welcoming in the sport. Any one of the various campsites will have a campfire going, with a TV playing a broadcast of the race. You're always welcomed to pull up a chair and take in the atmosphere.
Parking at the 24 is plentiful. Not only are there on-site parking lots for various parking passes, the track hosts various off-site parking options for fans to use, as long as you're willing to walk. For those who would rather take a ride, trams are also available to shuttle you in and out of the track from numerous parking lots, as well as to take you from one point to another in the track itself. You also can wander the facility as you wish, with any ticket granting you access to the stadium grandstand seating as well as the infield viewing areas.
The 24 Hours is a race to be added to any sports fan's list of must-see events, let alone any race fan. Tickets for the race weekend can get up there in price, but when you consider the quality of the product on track, the length of the actual race you're seeing, and the history made every year of the event, it is hard to argue value versus cost.
The 24 Hours race is home to multiple days of racing action, including support races beyond the main event itself.
In addition, each ticket gets you into the garage and paddock area at Daytona, which features fantastic views of the track and paddock from the rooftop patio decks. Fans can also get a look into the team preparations, thanks to the viewing windows in each garage bay.
Fans can also look forward to the autograph sessions throughout the weekend. By far the biggest is on Friday, where all the drivers line up in the garage area to greet the fans.
Finally, the biggest plus that few other races offer is the fan walk before the race starts on Saturday. Fans are able to get up close to the cars on pit road, wander the front stretch banking, relax on the grass, and have an up-front seat for driver introductions.
Taking a trip to Daytona for the Rolex 24 Hours is a visit worth taking. Anyone who is a race fan should attend. And with Daytona's recent seating upgrades, watching the race from either the infield or the main grandstands is more comfortable than ever.
Member Review by JimFolsom on Feb 07, 2013
The 51st Annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona was run on January 26th and 27th, 2013 at the Daytona International Speedway. The race is a 24-hour endurance race and the biggest event on the Grand Am Sports Car Circuit. It is actually three races in one, as the Daytona Prototype Class, the GT Class (dominated by Porsches) and the new GT2 Class all take to the track. 2014’s race will have at least four classes, as cars from the American Le Mans Series will be included.
The race itself is not what Daytona race fans are used to. These cars run the infield course. This is a bit different than the stock cars, which normally run around the high-banked track. This race is all about keeping out of trouble and on the track, so there’s not a whole lot of beating and banging going on out there.
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