Joie Chitwood
Local first responders were honored with a special reception for their efforts during the recent 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood, NASCAR President Mike Helton and Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey, along with representatives of the France Family, International Speedway Corporation and Volusia County, hosted a special reception last night at the Velocitorium inside the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours Building to honor local first responders including police, fire and safety rescue workers, and others for their efforts during the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on February 27, 2012. 

The race was originally scheduled to run on Sunday, February 26, but was delayed for the first time in history due to rain.  With approximately 40 laps remaining, a bizarre fiery accident involving a jet dryer caused a two-hour red flag delay.  Ultimately, the area of Turn 3 where the accident took place was repaired and the race was able to be completed. 

Speaking to the guests in attendance Wednesday night, Chitwood said, “We think about the Daytona 500 every day and we want to make sure we do what’s great for our fans.  We were having a great Speedweeks and while we were disappointed to delay the Daytona 500, our team stepped up to make it happen – but the folks in this room did it better than any.  There was one phrase that came to mind that night after everything was complete and that is ‘best in the business.’  That’s all I could think about in terms of how well we were prepared, how we responded and we went back to green. So thank you for all your efforts that night and everything you continue to do to help us.”

Helton added, “From NASCAR’s perspective, we wanted to be sure that you understood how grateful we are to the men and women behind the scenes who make the Daytona 500 the absolute international spectacle that it is.  [The 54th Daytona 500] is an example we can point to because you were ready, you did your job beyond the call of duty, you did it under extreme circumstances and made all of us very proud.”

The stars of NASCAR return to Daytona International Speedway on July 6-7, 2012.  Tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, featuring a special hour-long pre-race concert by multiplatinum, Grammy-winning superstars Train, and the Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at

Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter ( and Facebook ( for all the latest news all season long.

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