SBD/July 9, 2013/Facilities

Breaking Ground: Work Officially Begins On Massive Renovation To Daytona Int'l Speedway

Yesterday marked the first day of a "roughly 920-day frontstretch grandstand project" at Daytona Int'l Speedway that will "add a fourth level of seating, escalators and elevators, 11 new football field-sized concourses for fans to grab a bite and socialize, all new seating and five grand new entryways," according to a front-page piece by Eileen Zaffiro-Kean of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. A "fleet of dump trucks, wheel loaders and motor graders" arrived at DIS for early work, which will "focus on utility upgrades and relocation." Michigan-based general contractor Barton Malow VP David Price said that by the end of this year, people will "see the steel structure going up for the new gates and concourse areas on the International Speedway Boulevard side of the grandstands." Price added that more than 100 workers will "be on site initially, but that will skyrocket to 1,000-1,500 at some points." A DIS spokesperson said that workers will be "putting in full days Monday through Saturday for at least the near term." With the renovation "slated to be complete in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and Daytona 500, it will be a challenge to juggle construction with races over the next 2 1/2 years." Price said that work at DIS will "'substantially wind down' in January and February for all of the annual races that take place then, and then pick back up again in March." City officials are "anticipating the project leading to even more good things, including the commercial development that ISC plans to bring to vacant land across from the track on the north side of International Speedway Boulevard." Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry said, "It'll be a tremendous catalyst for economic growth" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/9).

SAFETY FIRST: ESPN's Nicole Briscoe said of the changes made to the catch-fence at DIS, "Just like Talladega, after the accident in February, both superspeedway tracks made some changes to the catch-fencing by reinforcing the cross over gates with additional tethers to help support the fence." ESPN's Brad Daugherty added of the improvements, "The thing that's most impressive is how they have reacted to the situation. There's no way to make it one hundred percent safe when you have 3,400-pound race cars running around at two hundred miles an hour" ("NASCAR Countdown," ESPN, 7/5).
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