Daytona Rising begins race to finish line of Phase 1

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While there will be 43 drivers racing towards the checkered flag for the 2015 season-opening Daytona 500, there’s 1,002 other people rushing towards a different kind of checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway.

The race is on over the next six weeks to put the finishing touches on the first completed phase of Daytona Rising, the $400 million facelift – the largest of its type in the history of the legendary DIS.

That phase on the 55-year-old racetrack must be completed in time for the Rolex 24 sports car race.

For the first time since the project began 16 months ago, over 1,000 workers were on-site Wednesday to continue work on the first 40 percent of the project (roughly about 40,000 seats), rebuilding all of the grandstands surrounding Turn 1 of the iconic track.

According to veteran racing writer Godwin Kelly of the Daytona News-Journal, that phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by the time of the Rolex, Jan. 24-25.

“It’s intense right now in terms of getting that area ready,” DIS President Joie Chitwood III told Kelly. “Construction workers are moving at full speed … to ensure that all the amenities within the facility are ready for the 2015 racing season.”

Daytona Rising is the largest capital improvement plan in the history of International Speedway Corporation.

While approximately 41,00 seats will eventually be removed, bringing seating capacity from 147,000 to 106,000, there will be a number of upgrades such as wider and more comfortable seats, community social gathering areas, wi-fi and more to make what Chitwood calls a “motorsports stadium.”

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.