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The History Of The Daytona International Speedway

The beaches of Florida are considered to be some of the places where car racing as we know it today has had its beginnings. The history of competing to find out which automobile drives faster goes all the way back to the very end of the 19th – the beginning of the 20th Century.

1903 was the year a number of people decided to gather on Ormond Beach, Florida to test the speed of their cars. Since then, this area has been a hub of racing activity, with the 1959 opening of the Daytona International Speedway that changed everything.

Florida continues to be an important base for car racing, performance car technology and the training of the specialized mechanics that work on such vehicles. (See https://usmechanicedu.com/fl/ for information on Florida’s schools).

The father of NASCAR and the Daytona Racing-track.

The idea for building the track was conceived by ‘Big Bill’ France, a mechanic who came originally from Washington, DC. He was a racing enthusiast with a vision. Bill France Sr became the father of NASCAR which was formed in 1947 after he organised a meeting to discuss the future of stock car racing in a hotel on Daytona Beach.

A few years later France decided to build a speedway. ‘Big Bill’ and the local architect Charles Moneypenney put their heads together and got some help from the engineers out of Ford in Detroit. After major sponsorship aid from the oil tycoon Clint Murchinson, and the involvement of Harley Earl, Pepsi and association of local residents who bought shares, construction begun in 1957.

Overcoming Adversity

There were a number of issues that emerged during the construction of the project. Finances were a problem from the very beginning and France ended up having to take out another mortgage on his house. A year into the construction of the venue the money raised for the building work was finished. ‘Big Bill’ had to support the project with the revenue from the tickets that were already sold.

There was a problem with flooding in the area of development. Underground water caused the holes that were dug out to fill up. Instead of losing hope, France created an opportunity. In the spirit of innovation he held speedboat races on Lake Lloyd.

NASCAR at the Daytona International-Speedway

After the completion of construction, the venue opened in 1959 and the first Daytona 500 was held on the 22nd of February.
Since that very first year to this day, Daytona 500 became an event that opens the season for NASCAR. The climate in Florida allows the fans to gather and enjoy their favourite competition at the time when many other places in the country aren’t suitable for racing events.

Daytona 500 sells out at full 200,000 capacity every year. It is a racing competition that is famous among the fans from all over the world. NASCAR holds another event on Daytona Beach every year on the 4th of July.

The History of NASCAR

From its early beginnings as a sport that was only popular in a few areas mostly in the south of the US, NASCAR racing events have become a global phenomenon and a multi-billion dollar industry. Racing is one of the most followed spectator sports in America, and it brings people from different corners of the world to Florida every year. The first Daytona 500 in 1959 was attended by around 41,000 people with the number of fans growing to 200,000 today.

The founder of NASCAR and the mastermind behind the Daytona track has given up the NASCAR leadership position in 1972, passing it over to his son, William France Jr. Moving forward with the demands of changing times in society, Janet Guthrie becomes the first woman racer to join Daytona 500 in 1977. The first woman wins a pole in NASCAR history in 2013.

Daytona International-Speedway today

Today, the Daytona track is home to various types of entertainment events. From NASCAR to motorsports racing, historical exhibitions to eSports gaming competitions, there is something for people with all kinds of different interests. You can take a tour of the premises, attend a Magic of Lights holiday festive show or join a World Karting Association competition.

There are many options to choose from, so every member of the family can find something that they will enjoy. The venue went through a recent renovation to make it the most modern facility for different types of events. The proximity of ONE DAYTONA, where you can shop, eat and get a good night’s sleep is a great bonus.


  • https://www.daytonabeach.com/things-to-do/attractions/speedway/
  • https://www.nascar.com/nascar-history
  • https://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/nascar/race-tracks/daytona-5002.htm
  • https://www.motor1.com/news/72197/daytona-international-speedway-a-brief-history/