Daytona International Speedway – Coke Zero Sugar 400
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
Daytona International Speedway 1801 West International Speedway Blvd Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Year Opened: 1959
A Final July 4th Celebration
Daytona International Speedway is one of the world’s greatest race tracks. Host to countless events, one of them is the annual 4th of July NASCAR race under the lights – NASCAR’s Xfinity series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series take to the track for night races at one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. Fans pack in the stunning facility that has been modernized in recent years to watch some of the most exciting racing in all of America. However, with sweeping schedule changes to the 2020 NASCAR slate, Daytona will move to a new September date, meaning 2019 was the final 4th of July race at the fastest track in Florida. Nonetheless, Daytona remains one of the top tracks in the world to watch racing.
Food & Beverage 4
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 race weekend, there are also a variety of places to get food throughout the infield – from the arepa stands around the main walkways to the Bud Bar, you will never have any issues finding something to eat. Options are varied and made with quality food.
The Pastrami Swiss Burger is a popular twist on the stadium favorite, costing just $10. The track also offers a gouda stuffed veggie burger for $8, or a fish & chips sandwich for $9. Hawaiian chicken sandwiches run $10, while a hot dog costs just $5. Soda and water run from $4 to $5, with beer costing $8 to $9.
The race itself is one of the biggest races in NASCAR – everyone looks forward to going to Daytona for its close racing and exciting action, but putting that same action under the lights just adds another aspect of brilliance to an already thrilling experience. The facility is stunning already, and the massive 2.5 mile racetrack features a modern fan zone on the infield that gives fans an unparalleled up-close view of the teams, cars, and even the inspection areas.
The grandstands feel like a professional sports stadium thanks to the Daytona Rising renovation of the last few years. Each seat is an individual backed chair, meaning the days of cramming onto a bench with no back are over. You can sit in comfort and enjoy the action. To top it all off, you won’t miss any of the pit stops thanks to your proximity to pit road. Your elevated position gives you a great view of the pit stops during the race, and the big screens along pit road also let you see the replays after each key moment in the race.
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 closest hotels include an Extended Stay America and a WoodSpring Suites Daytona. For attractions, historic Daytona Beach is just a few miles away, and an hour south you can find Kennedy Space Center.
NASCAR fans pack in Daytona to see the action, including the campgrounds in the infield. They cheer loudly for their favorite driver and against the rest. NASCAR fans are among the most loyal in sports and some of the most sport knowledgeable. That said, they also love their alcohol and rebel flags, so the infield may not be the best place for kids during race weekend. Aside from that, expect one of the most incredible sports experiences around when you have roaring crowds on their feet for 160 laps.
Parking at the track is plentiful – not only are there on-site parking lots for various types of parking passes, but the track also hosts numerous off-site parking options for fans to use, as long as you’re willing to walk. For those who would rather take a ride, however, trams are also available to shuttle you in and out of the facility from the off-site parking lots, as well as to take you from one point to another at the track itself. You can also wander the facility as you wish, with any ticket granting access to the stadium grandstand seats as well as the infield fan zone.
The track itself is located right off I-95 (you can see the track from the highway); it is hard to miss the massive facility, but just in case you do there are tons of street signs pointing the way.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets can get pricey for NASCAR races, but Daytona offers plenty of pricing options for fans at every level. From individual tickets to weekend passes, you can fit getting to Daytona International Speedway into every budget. With the cost of concessions rather affordable as well, you can go to the races here without breaking the bank.
The track features massive fan areas in the infield and at the outside entrances, both of which are full of vendor displays and giveaways. You can also tour the Daytona USA museum during your visit for an added cost.
In addition, each ticket gets you into the garage and paddock area at Daytona, and you can see fantastic views of the track and the paddock from the rooftop patio decks. Fans can also get a look at the team preparations, thanks to the viewing windows in each garage bay.
Fans can also look forward to the autograph sessions throughout the weekend – the Xfinity series drivers usually hold one on Friday afternoon in the infield fan zone before the race begins.
The racing at Daytona is among the best in racing – the facility is top notch and the track has history around every corner. No matter what you are into, this is a sports experience that begs to be seen.
Furthermore, night racing at Daytona International Speedway seems to take everything that is great about day racing and amplifies it. The colors, the sounds, the roar of the fans; all of these combine to make one great experience for fans.