Decreased seating capacity at Daytona, Phoenix

Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix International Speedway have decreased their seating capacity by 9,000 in the last year.

Spokesmen for both tracks said the changes were the result of improvements made to certain grandstand sections. Daytona’s seating capacity shrunk from 168,000 to 159,000, the result of a frontstretch grandstand project that began in August, according to DIS spokesman Andrew Booth.

The renovation project replaced lower aluminum seating in the DePalma and Oldfield grandstands (located near Turn 4) as well as the Seagrave, Keech and Lockhart grandstands (located near Turn 1) with chair seats with arm rests.

Phoenix’s capacity shrunk from 76,000 to 67,000. The Phoenix changes, according to PIR spokesman Paul Corliss, came from the track’s replacing of temporary bleacher limited-view seating on the backstretch with high-end recreational vehicle and hospitality spots.

“You’ll continue to see us evolve and expand or contract as necessary," ISC spokesman Wes Harris said. “The nice thing is you can do other things that can make a lot of sense."

The changes were not announced, but track operator International Speedway Corp.’s annual financial filing lists the capacity for each of its tracks. None of ISC’s other tracks had seating capacity that changed by more than 2,000 seats.

Daytona still has the biggest capacity at 159,000 plus 112 suites, followed by Talladega (143,000; 30 suites), Michigan (129,000; 44 suites), Richmond (109,000; 41 suites), Auto Club in California (91,000; 90 suites), Kansas (80,000; 54 suites), Chicagoland (75,000; 24 suites), Phoenix (67,000; 46 suites), Homestead (63,000; 71 suites), Martinsville (61,000; 22 suites), Darlington (61,000; 16 suites), and Watkins Glen (35,000; 8 suites). The number of seats per suite varies depending on the track.

In its annual financial report, ISC also stated that it had more than 1,000 full-time employees as of Nov. 30, 2008 – compared with more than 1,100 it reported for the same time last year. Harris said the company did eliminate positions last year because of the economy but those eliminated made up less than 5 percent of the company’s work force.

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