$400 million Daytona International Speedway facelift hits halfway mark


Even though we won’t see the finished product until the 2016 Daytona 500, the ambitious $400 million DAYTONA Rising hit a significant milestone earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Daytona International Speedway and International Speedway Corp. officials oversaw the placement of the highest steel beam, which also officially marks the halfway point of construction.

“Today was a great opportunity to celebrate our collective accomplishments to date,” DIS President Joie Chitwood III said in a media release. “We’ve enjoyed the journey thus far and look forward to continuing the momentum during the months ahead.”

A special commemorative plaque was signed by members of NASCAR’s France family and attached to the beam, while several construction workers autographed the actual beam itself.

“Daytona International Speedway is a special place and we’re honored to continue its legacy through the DAYTONA Rising project,” said ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy.

“We’re literally building history and creating an unprecedented motorsports experience,” France Kennedy said. “I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for my grandfather (Bill France Sr.) to turn his vision into reality when he built the Speedway more than 50 years ago.”

Here’s some fast facts about how DAYTONA Rising is progressing:

  • Surpassed one million man-hours.
  • Installed 89 percent of the total steel.
  • Poured more than 105 million pounds of concrete.
  • Installed 26 escalators and 4 elevators.
  • Overall cost will be $400 million.
  • Permanent seating will be reduced from 146,000 to 101,000 wider and more comfortable seats.
  • Number of bathrooms will double while number of concession stands will triple.
  • More than 60 luxury suites with full track side views.

For more information, view www.DAYTONARising.com

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.