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Daytona Speedway Track - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Accommodation

On our annual vacation to our villas this year we were keen to see some less obvious aspects of Florida.

On our way in to Daytona Beach, we passed the famous Daytona International Speedway track. Having acquired a taste for racing at the Siverstone Formula 1 Grand Prix in July, my eldest daughter was keen to go on the guided tour. So, after a morning on the famous beach, we packed up our gear, and headed for the racetrack.

The Speedway replaced the beach as Daytona' s racing venue in 1959. Since then, the track has been improved and seating increased to its current capacity of over 167, 000. We bought our tickets, and went to the entrance at the appointed time, only to discover that the tour had been postponed due to a storm. This eventually cleared , so we set off round the track at more sedate pace than the Nascar speeds of 200mph.

These high speeds can be achieved because the track turns are banked at 31ยบ. Our guide explained that the minimum speed required to stay on the banked curves is 70mph. I' d seen such circuits on television, but it doesn' t have the impact that you get from being on the track.

The serried tiers of seats look impressive even when empty. Goodness knows what they must be like when full! The Daytona 500 circuit is 2. 5 miles long, and is a tri-oval shape. Imagine a standard oval with a small outwards curve midway down one of the straights, and you' ve got the picture.

We were taken into the centre of the track, where fans with Sprint Fanzone passes can see the cars and drivers, and the teams working in the garages. Because our tour was shorter than normal, our guide took us into the inspection area. We were offered a chance to sit in a race car, which is achieved by climbing through the window as the doors are welded shut.

It' s quite cramped in the driver' s seat, but the layout is essentially the same as a road car with a manual gearbox. Whilst my younger daughter was in the car, our guide started the 900 horsepower engine, much to her delight. She blipped the throttle and grinned broadly at the roar from the engine.
The tour was rounded off by a visit to the Tower. This is six stories up and is used by TV and radio broadcasters, and corporate hospitality. It has a fabulous view of the whole track. I' d love to be there for the Daytona 500! Maybe next year?

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Page added on: 6 September 2012
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