Following a Sales retreat I had in Orlando back in April 2008, I decided to explore a bit of downtown Orlando and re-visit Daytona Beach – a place I had only previously visited once before on a family vacation back when I was 14 years old. Along the way, I decided to pop in for a tour of the Daytona International Speedway – famous for being the site of the annual Daytona 500 NASCAR race.
The Daytona International Speedway is located at:
1801 W International Speedway Blvd
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Coming from downtown Orlando, I drove for nearly one hour Northeast along Interstate 4. Once you see signs for Interstate 95, head north for about 5 minutes before getting of Exit 261 – West International Speedway Boulevard. The Speedway is about 5 – 10 minutes Northeast of this exit.
Tours for the Daytona International Speedway happen every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday between 1 – 4pm EST (except for when racing events occur). My tour was done on a Saturday.
Tours range anywhere from $16 – $50 US and last from 30 minutes to 3 hours:
- Speedway Tour – 30 minutes ($16 US)
- All Access Tour – 90 minutes ($23 US)
- VIP Tour – 180 minutes ($50 US)
I opted for the All Access Tour myself as I felt that 90 minutes was plenty of time for me to learn more about this world-class race track while still having some time to check out Daytona Beach in the late afternoon.
The tours all start off by taking to you the track via tram. As you drive along the interior of the track, the tour guide gives you tidbits of information about the race track specifics, as well as some important stories about the Daytona 500. Highlights of the interior track include the Start/Finish line, the garages, and Victory Lane. Mind you, if you are like me, then your mind will wander and be more focused on the massiveness of this stadium!
The #1 highlight of the tour in my opinion is the opportunity to watch cars zoom by you during practice laps. In fact, it is possible to either be a passenger in one of these cars or actually drive one yourself with a professional driver by your side. While I was extremely tempted to go, the price of admission was dear (around $250 US) and would have killed my budget for the weekend. So, I had to settle for watching them zoom past me instead from the stands. Truth be told, it wasn’t so bad given there weren’t many of us here on this day (we were a group of about 10 – 12), so I felt like I had a rather intimate experience at the track.
Of course, from here we went to Victory Lane for the token photo-op. As the name suggests, this is where the winner of the Daytona 500 is crowned with their reward. Once you are done here, you spend the rest of the time touring the inside of the Daytona International Speedway.
Inside the Speedway, visitors can to learn the history of both the racetrack and the Daytona 500. Exhibits include the history of the Daytona 500, models of past race cars used, and the Daytona 500 Wall of Winners.
Down the road, I may attend the Daytona 500. But for now, my day at the track was a nice glimpse into the NASCAR lifestyle. Definitely a worthwhile visit while you are in Daytona Beach. For more information or to book tours, you can visit the Daytona International Speedway official website.