$400 million Daytona International Speedway facelift hits halfway mark

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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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Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.