Big changes are on the way for NASCAR’s most famous racetrack, Daytona International Speedway, with the most significant facelift since the track opened 54 years ago in 1959.
Home of the season-opening Daytona 500 and the early July Coke Zero 400, the track will undergo a multi-phase update that will break ground July 5, the day before this year’s Coke Zero 400. With a price tag estimated to be up to $400 million, construction will be completed in segments and is due for final completion in January 2016.
The majority of change will come on the frontstretch, which measures nearly one-mile in length.
All seats will be replaced with wider and more comfortable counterparts. There will also be 11 “neighborhoods” installed for fans to still be able to see the action while socializing with other fans — much like overlook areas typically seen at horse racing tracks. Each “neighborhood” will measure about the length of a football field, capped off by the “World Center of Racing” area that will be somewhat of an open-air museum touting the history of the speedway and its most memorable moments.
Plans call for construction of 53 suites. New entrances, additional restrooms and concession areas, escalators and elevators are also part of the improvement program.
But there will be a significant price to pay: DIS will see its current capacity of 147,000 shrink by more than 30 percent to about 101,000 seats, with plans calling for the elimination of all grandstand seating on the backstretch area. However, there are additional plans to bring seating back to 125,000 if future economic conditions and fan demand warrant it.
At its zenith, DIS once had a capacity of 162,000.
“The decision was made with strong consideration of the current macroeconomic condition and a clear view for our long-term growth,” Lisa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corp., which owns DIS, said in a statement. “We are truly creating history with this unprecedented endeavor.”
Even though capacity will be dramatically decreased, ISC and track officials insist they won’t make up for lost revenue from the eliminated seats with higher ticket prices.
The second season of “Dinner with Racers,” presented by Continental Tire, drops its first batch of episodes today.
The 28-episode season follows the first 28 episodes released last year. This year, podcast hosts and sports car veterans Sean Heckman and Ryan Eversley saddled up in a Honda Odyssey minivan for the cross-country tour, while riding on Continental Tires.
There’s some great guests and details. Here’s the full breakdown, plus a video, below:
One year after the successful debut of the motorsport podcast series “Dinner with Racers,” the antics of Ryan Eversley and Sean Heckman have returned for the binge release of “Season Two,” launching today. Following their 2015 debut that featured a month-long road trip recording 26 conversations “over dinner” with some of the most interesting characters in motorsports, the duo will launch another 28 recordings for their 2016 adventure. The second season will be released in two waves, with “Release One” launching the first 14 recordings immediately, and “Release Two” featuring an additional 14 recordings slated to release on December 16. All episodes can be found at www.dinnerwithracers.com or via iTunes.
Traveling for 40 days across 29 states, and covering 12,000 miles in 2016, the trip was made possible in part by the Honda Odyssey that was lent to the team by American Honda Motor Co., Inc, and most importantly thanks to a continuing title partnership with Continental Tire, who not only provided Cross Contact LX20 tires for the trip but covered the team’s expenses, as well as every meal.
Continuing the same theme from the debut season, #DWR2 follows a nearly identical format. A factory racing driver for Acura in the World Challenge series, Ryan Eversley makes up half of the hosting lineup, with motorsport marketing / creative content veteran Sean Heckman completing the duo. Using their unique blend of humor, insight, experience, as well as genuine love of the sport, Eversley and Heckman pick up right where they left off in Season One, exposing some of the most unique and entertaining stories from their variety of guests.
Meeting up with 28 different characters “over dinner,” listeners will exposed to a variety of personalities, everything from NASCAR and IndyCar star drivers, to some of the most respected engineers and mechanics, journalists, and broadcasters in the business. Stories cover everything from what it was like to be the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and then Daytona 500, to giving up a contract worth over $2mil just to be a “good guy,” to turning a satiric twitter account in to a full-time job, as well as enjoying life after nearly three decades in prison. Topics include everything from a transgender pig, to being given dead cat whiskers as a good luck charm, to having guns pulled in the middle of a race shop, and even buying a race track in the hopes of laundering money through it.
For Ryan Eversley, a chance to continue the series was a welcome one.
“I know it’s a cliché, but It truly is such an honor and a privilege to be able to do this,” stated Eversley. “Both Sean and I were truly blown away by the fan support from Season One, it’s honestly something we weren’t expecting. It really meant a lot to get so many nice comments, and that kept us very motivated for Season Two. I think our genuine love of the sport translates when people listen, because we really enjoy hearing the real back stories in what makes everyone so unique. This season did not disappoint us at all. This show lives and dies by its guests, and we couldn’t have been luckier to have such a great group who were not only engaging and interesting, but also incredibly gracious with their time. It’s an absolute blast doing this, and we really appreciate Continental for continuing their support, as well as Honda for giving us an incredibly comfortable car for such a long trip.”
For Sean Heckman, a similar sentiment is shared.
“What he said,” stated Heckman.
Additionally, the series will continue to support less exposed musical acts, with each episode promoting a variety of musicians and bands at the close of every episode.
THE FULL GUEST LIST
RELEASE ONE (available now):
Kevin “Rocket” Blanch
RELEASE TWO (coming soon):
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (with Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney)
Wolff: Mercedes was wrong to issue Hamilton orders in F1 title decider
Ahead of the event in Las Vegas, each of the 10 of the sim racers that have qualified have been paired up with a Formula E team.
“I’d like to officially welcome the sim racers who qualified through the Road to Vegas Challenge to participate in the inaugural Visa Vegas eRace,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said.
“I’ve been following the progress of the sim racers throughout the qualification process, and I can’t wait to see them on the same track as the rest of the Formula E grid.
“Accessibility and fan engagement are two of the key cornerstones of Formula E, and what better way to promote this than getting the sim racers to compete in the same colours as their Formula E counterparts – it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top.”
The sim racers in the event are:
Gregor Huttu (FIN) – Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Aleksi Uusi-Jaakkola (FIN) – Andretti
Olli Pahkala (FIN) – Mahindra
Enzo Bonito (ITA) – Techeetah
David Greco (ITA) – Renault e.dams
Graham Carroll (GBR) – DS Virgin Racing
Aleksi Elomaa (FIN) – Venturi
Bono Huis (NED) – Faraday Future Dragon Racing
Petar Brljak (CRO) – NextEV NIO
Patrick Holzmann (DEU) – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport