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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