Yesterday, Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne earned the honor of officially breaking ground on Daytona International Speedway’s $400 million renovation project after winning a bulldozer race around an obstacle course outside the 2.5-mile oval.
It seemed only fitting to begin the transformation of NASCAR’s most storied track with a race, which saw Biffle and Bayne team up to defeat the combos of Ryan Newman and Jeff Burton and TV announcers Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip. The event, which saw the three teams get around in 42,000-pound Caterpillar front-end loaders, carried multiple customs of a true Sprint Cup race, including a mock Victory Lane celebration (pictured).
The Daytona Rising project is slated to be complete by January 2016 and will modernize the grandstands at the “World Center of Racing” with added amenities such as wider seats and more concession options. Track president Joie Chitwood III is also hopeful that the new Daytona will attract non-racing events such as football, rugby and soccer games that could be played on the infield tri-oval grass.
Burton believes that Daytona’s rebuild is important in regards to creating a better at-track experience for fans, especially in the moments leading up to the races themselves.
“When you go to a baseball game, the entire thing is the baseball game,” Burton told the Associated Press. “When you go to a NASCAR race, there’s all the pre-race stuff, there’s things going on before the race – hours before the race you get here – so you have to entertain the fans in other ways other than just the race because they’ve come to expect it.
“In many ways, it requires more effort from our racetrack owners than baseball or football.”