DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 5, 2013) – NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne have each recorded major career milestones at Daytona International Speedway, but today they achieved a racing distinction that will never again be matched.
The team of Biffle, who won the Coke Zero 400 here in 2003, and Bayne, who became the youngest-ever winner of the DAYTONA 500 in 2011, captured the first—and only—DAYTONA Rising 500, a competition featuring massive construction equipment in place of stock cars that bestowed upon the winners the honor of being the first to officially break ground on the DAYTONA Rising project, a historic, multi-year redevelopment of the nearly mile-long, 54-year-old frontstretch at the “World Center of Racing.”
The DAYTONA Rising 500—the 500, in this case, signifying the approximate size of the race course (500 feet)—pitted pairings of current and former NASCAR drivers, as well as crew chief Larry McReynolds, in a test of competitive driving skills by guiding branded, 20-ton Cat® 950K Wheel Loaders through a series of obstacles and construction-site skill tests. In addition to Biffle and Bayne, the teams included drivers Jeff Burton and Ryan Newman, as well as McReynolds and NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip.
The winners of the DAYTONA Rising 500 earned the honor of breaking ground on the Speedway’s unprecedented redevelopment project, which will officially begin on Monday, July 8 following this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola and is expected to be completed for January 2016, in time for the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 58th DAYTONA 500.
“An historic project like DAYTONA Rising, which will reimagine an iconic American venue like Daytona International Speedway, demands a groundbreaking like no other,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “In keeping with the Speedway’s tradition, we wanted to find an innovative way to honor history and create memorable moments for our fans, which is ultimately what the DAYTONA Rising project is all about. We can’t wait to get started.”
B-roll footage from today’s DAYTONA Rising 500 can be accessed here:
The DAYTONA Rising project, which was officially approved by International Speedway Corporation on June 18, is designed to enhance the overall experience for the Speedway’s fans, marketing partners and the motorsports industry by creating a world-class facility with premium amenities.
The vision for the frontstretch redevelopment places an emphasis on enhancing the complete fan experience, beginning with five expanded and redesigned fan entrances, or injectors, along International Speedway Boulevard. Each injector will lead directly to a series of escalators and elevators that will transport fans to any of three different concourse levels, each featuring spacious and strategically-placed social “neighborhoods” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch.
A total of 11 neighborhoods, each measuring the size of a football field, will enable fans to meet and socialize during events without ever missing any on-track action, thanks to an open-sightline design throughout each concourse and dozens of added video screens in every neighborhood. The central neighborhood, dubbed the “World Center of Racing,” will celebrate the history of Daytona International Speedway and its many unforgettable moments throughout more than 50 years of racing.
Every seat in the Speedway frontstretch will be replaced with wider and more comfortable seating, with more restrooms and concession stands throughout the facility. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will be comprised of approximately 101,000 permanent seats with the potential to increase permanent seating to 125,000.
About Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is the home of “The Great American Race” – the DAYTONA 500. Though the season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup event garners most of the attention – as well as the largest audience in motorsports – the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the globe, thus earning it the title of “World Center of Racing.” In addition to eight major weekends of racing activity, rarely a week goes by that the Speedway grounds are not used for events that include civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, production vehicle testing and police motorcycle training.