DIS Annual Survey Results Revealed; Loss Of Flyover For Daytona 500 Upset Fans
Daytona Int’l Speedway’s annual fan survey results “point to areas that will always remain a challenge with an event that draws well over 100,000 fans,” including parking and post-race exits, but also “included downturns due to things beyond the Speedway's control,” according to Ken Willis of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. Among those issues were the “on-track racing product, which is handled by NASCAR, and the nixing of a pre-race military flyover, which was scrubbed due to a low cloud ceiling.” Track President Joie Chitwood III said that the survey conducted in early March “included a randomly selected 925 customers who attended" the Daytona 500 on Feb. 24. Chitwood said, "We have to live up to the reputation of our pre-race experience. The flyover didn't happen, that makes people mad. ... That's part of it. You can't control the race; you should be able to control the pre-race." Chitwood said that the survey is an “important tool as he and his large Speedway staff prepare for upcoming events -- primarily the July 6 Coke Zero 400 -- before full attention turns to next February's Speedweeks.” He “didn't disclose how many of the survey's responders indicated they wouldn't return for another event at Daytona, but of those who said they wouldn't, 54 percent blamed cost,” while in ‘11, “41 percent blamed cost.” An ongoing goal involves “increased communication with fans as they arrive and depart.” Among fans who felt strongly one way or another about seating, 43% “gave above-average marks to their particular seating area, while 25 percent -- too high for Chitwood's taste -- gave unfavorable grades.” The race itself was given “high marks by 77 percent of first-timers, while just 63 percent of the seasoned Daytona fans did so.” Parking was “reversed: First-timers, likely overwhelmed, gave thumbs-down at a rate of 32 percent, compared to 19 percent of the ‘veterans’” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 6/8).