Race into 2019 at Daytona International Speedway
Celebrate 60 years of racing at Daytona Speedway in 2019, with a visit to the world-famous race track; whatever type of racing you enjoy, be it cars, bikes or even trucks – there is definitely something for everyone!
Since it opened in 1959, Daytona Speedway has been the home to the prestigious Daytona 500 race, the jewel in the NASCAR crown. Over the years other races have been held at the venue, including endurance events and Superbike races.
BMW Endurance Challenge
This year the BMW Endurance Challenge, a four-hour endurance race, kicks off the racing season and the Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend on Friday 25th January. Watch as the drivers tail each other bumper-to-bumper around the track and push themselves and their Touring and Grand Sports cars to the limit.
Rolex 24 at Daytona
26th - 27th January
The main Rolex 24 at Daytona race starts at 2:35pm on Saturday 26th January, after a morning of build up and events around the track and infield area, which includes the UNOH Fanzone. The Fanzone is a great place to explore, and here you will find plenty to keep you entertained – especially during a 24-hour endurance event like the Rolex 24! Watch as the cars travel around the combined road course – making use of parts of the sloped NASCAR tri-oval as well as an infield course with several twists and turns! Cheer as the winners celebrate their amazing feat of driving; you never know who will take to the podium – last year you would have spotted Brazil’s Christian Fittipaldi celebrating with his co-drivers! This year Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya both have their eye on the trophy – will 2019 be the year for either of these racing legends?
Over in the UNOH Fanzone, which is a key feature of any of the track days that we look at in this blog, be sure to check out the 2019 Heritage Exhibition, which features a range of cars from the 1960s to the modern era – a must-see for racing fans! Head to the Boardwalk, and take a ride on the 150ft high Ferris wheel and get a view of the track and the cars whizzing around below you, before grabbing a bite to eat and getting in the party spirit on the carnival rides! Make your way to the podium at Gatorade Victory Lane, where you will want to be at the end of the event to see the race winners celebrate. Before that though why not dream of your own winning moment as you take photos with the Rolex 24 trophy? On Saturday afternoon you’ll need your pen and notepad at the ready as some of the biggest names in motor racing will be signing autographs. With plenty more going on, including live music and karaoke, exhibitions and ceremonies you’ll have to plan your time well! You can even upgrade your tickets and get closer to the action with garage access, which will make you feel like you a part of the racing team. With so much going on, check the schedule to make sure that you don’t miss any of the action!
As the noise coming from the cars will be non-stop it is advisable that you bring earplugs – it might get a bit grating after a while otherwise! If you plan on watching all of the action, remember that the weather and temperature might change significantly over the 24 hours! It is recommended that you dress in easily removable layers and pack rain clothing – as well as sun cream, just in case.
9th - 17th February
If you are in Florida from 9th –17th February you might want to check out the Speedweeks races, which officially start the NASCAR season. On 9th February the Lucas Oil 200 Driven By General Tire stock car racing event – part of the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series begins the action, featuring a selection of experienced and new drivers. Sunday 10th February sees the Advance Auto Parts Clash – a fast-paced NASCAR race around 75 laps, a well as qualifying for the Daytona 500 race on the same day, followed by the Duel at Daytona on 14th February, with both races determining where drivers will start on the grid for the big event – the Daytona 500. If you are a fan of truck racing you won’t want to miss the 100-lap Nextera Energy 250 on 15th February! As a part of the build-up to the big race event scheduled for 17th February, watch as the future stars of NASCAR take on the 300-mile Daytona 300 race.
The main event though is on Sunday 17th February with the world-famous Daytona 500, which celebrates its 61st anniversary this year. Reserved tickets for this event have sold out the last three years, so make sure that you book early to avoid disappointment. The Great American Race is considered the most prestigious event of the NASCAR season, so why not take this chance to watch history being made on the banked tri-oval track, as the cars pursue each other for 200 nail-biting laps?
As with all of these races the Fanzone has plenty going on to build-up the excitement for the main event. Among all of the entertainment available you can watch the crew hard at work in the garages, get some autographs and sign the start-finish line yourself! Make sure you get a great viewing position to enjoy the Pre-Race Show – where you can see stars of the world of music performing onstage before looking to the skies for a flyover. Attend a Q&A session with some of the biggest names in the sport, and cheer on the drivers as they are introduced on stage, before they take to the track for a pre-race parade lap. Will your favourite driver make their mark on racing history this year?
8th - 17th March
If bikes are more your thing then put Bike Week in your diary. For fans of everything two-wheeled this is the perfect chance to celebrate your passion. Head to the Fanzone which is included in your entry fee and access the Supercross pits, enjoy the pre-race entertainment and more. Throughout the week you meet with other like-minded bike enthusiasts, discover custom bikes, take free manufacturer demo rides and watch the on-track action, which includes Supercross races on 9th March, as well as getting a look at the up-and-coming stars of the future with Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross on 10th and 11th March. Make sure you are there for the main event on Bike Week’s calendar, the 78th Daytona 200 – a 200-mile race where riders test their skills over 57 laps of the track.
There is plenty to see and do if you visit the Speedway during any of these events. Ticket prices vary so check online for the seating options available. It’s worth noting that there is often free entry for children aged 12 and under for race days – visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com for more information.
Fanzone access is a big part of these events and usually costs a supplementary amount, but for events like Bike Week and the BMW Endurance Challenge it is included in the admission price, or for the Daytona 500 children aged 12 or under can get free entry to the Fanzone. For full and up-to-date information check the website before booking.
Let us know if you are going to the Daytona Speedway this year or if you have been in the past – we’d love to see your photos from any of the events, so get in touch!