Daytona to add new grandstand UPDATE Now comes the inevitable question of whether the track can spend a couple of years re-doing the entire frontstretch grandstands and façade without disrupting its traditional NASCAR race dates.
DIS President Joie Chitwood said at this point, even if we can get some things going, I don’t know if that’s really going to affect 2014. I don’t really see that as a concern. Maybe if we do get a property project approved, we have to look at the later years potentially.
“But right now, I don’t really see anything in ’14 that could cause a schedule change.”
In discussing future schedules last week, NASCAR Senior Vice President Steve O’Donnell said the Daytona construction schedule would have to be considered when developing a schedule.
“We have to take factors into play (when doing schedules),” O’Donnell said. “Look at Daytona, they have a big construction project. What does that mean for them in 2014, 2015?”
Chitwood wouldn’t rule out a change in Daytona race dates but without a proposed construction schedule, he couldn’t predict whether one would be necessary.
Rossetti Architects, which designed Ford Field in Detroit and the USTA Tennis Center in New York, has worked with DIS to begin creating plans.
“If we do get a project approved, that is something that we have to look at because whatever we do to the property is probably going to take a couple of seasons to get it all done,” Chitwood said.
“So there will be some challenges at how you coordinate running an event with any kind of improvements you’re making to the property. But that’s still such a far way away.”
Chitwood, who is looking to give the track grandstands more of a stadium feel, would like to keep the traditionally July Fourth weekend date for his second Cup race.
“Obviously we don’t want to really change anything,” Chitwood said. “We’ve got really good event weekends. They work for us. We love our July event – wrap ourselves with the American flag and celebrate the nation’s birthday.
“And who doesn’t love Daytona in February and starting off the season? But, look, if we get the opportunity to make some massive redevelopment in our property, we’ll have to see how that all shakes out. It’s way too early to see if that will change our schedule, and the goal would be not to have to do that.”
01/24/13 The world caught a glimpse Tuesday of what Daytona International Speedway could become in the future, a vision that stacks a fourth level of seating onto the top of the nearly mile-long frontstretch grandstand, adds a new tower that could include suites and creates new concourses where fans could take a break from the track and mingle.
The next chapter for the 54-year-old track could also bring improved seating, upgraded concession areas, five grand new entrances for race fans and possibly the removal of low-level seating that suffers from obstructed views.
Speedway President Joie Chitwood III unveiled conceptual renderings Tuesday afternoon that contemplate leaving the track's existing structures in place but making all those changes part of a proposed multiyear redevelopment of the historic facility built by Bill France Sr. in the late 1950s.
“The world center of racing deserves this kind of project,” Chitwood said. “We're the flagship brand for the company, for the sport. This is the birthplace of NASCAR. I think the expectation that our fans have is that we have this major sports stadium ... moving forward for the next 50 years.”
The Speedway has hired a Michigan-based architectural firm, Rossetti, to work on the project. The global firm with four decades of experience has worked on the Detroit Pistons' arena, the Detroit Lions' Ford Field, a United States Tennis Association facility in New York and International Speedway Corp. projects.
“We've enlisted them to help us create this vision for hopefully the next 50 years,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood revealed the images of what a revamped Daytona International Speedway could one day look like during NASCAR's annual “state of the sport” event in Charlotte, N.C., where the NASCAR Hall of Fame is located.