Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daytona International Speedway

Throughout the entire course of my life, I have probably watched a cumulative total of ten minutes of NASCAR.  But, Robby loves it and we were in Daytona, so we toured the Daytona International Speedway.  It was far more interesting than I thought it would be, although I doubt I will become a fan.  Here are the girls with Robby near "Turn Four:"
Sabrina and her climbing tendencies:
 Yay!!  Front row seats!
 Checking out the hats at the gift shop:
 As well as the jackets:
 The main building in the center:
We took a tram ride around the track, through the infield, and through the tunnel.  The sides of the track have an 18 degree slant, which the girls interpreted as a "slide."  Yes, they slid in their shorts down the asphalt several times.
This is the start and finish line:

The track on the curves are at a 33 degree slant, so we could not walk on those.  The tram ride stayed on the level area, called the "apron."  Apparently during the races the cars can only drive in that area to avoid a crash.  The tour guide showed us where the transponders are in the asphalt that records what order the cars are in on each lap.
It is kind of hard to tell, but there are two chairs in that cage between the two Sunoco signs.  During the races, two judges sit there and watch the "behavior" of the cars as they zoom past.  I am not sure what type of fouls they are looking for, but apparently it is pretty important.
We toured the Gatorade Victory Lane (nearly everything there has a corporate name attached to it).  This is where the winner and his/her team stand for pictures after the race.
We drove past the gas station.  We also saw the "inspection area."  Before the race, all cars are inspected and then are placed in the pre-race garage until the race.  After the race, the top 5 finishers are inspected again more thoroughly.  The garages are all labeled 1 through 43.  For an additional $95, you can buy a pass to remain in the "Fan Zone" throughout the race.  You can look through windows to see the cars which have crashed and are returned to the garage in the middle of the race.
We toured the Driver Meeting Room.  Every driver must attend a pre-race meeting at 11 am.  If they are a minute late, there start position drops to the bottom.  This is a closed door meeting.  The tour guide told us that the race directors go over the rules, etc.  I had assumed that the drivers at that level, two hours before the so-called "Super Bowl of Motorsports," already knew the rules.  I really wish I could attend one of those meetings!
This shot is from the press box and gives you can idea of how big this place is.  We saw the various camping areas: for the drivers (with brick pathways to RV parking spots) all the way down to a tent area.  An estimated 200,000 people attend the Daytona 500.  They showed us the on-site hospital, which includes a complete trauma unit.  Most interesting to me is that the on-site hospital also includes a maternity ward and that 13 babies have been born AT the Daytona 500!
 The girls from the press box:
A view of the Gatorade Victory Lane from the press box:
 The girls standing on a recreation of the 33 degree banked turns:
The tour, which lasted two hours, was far more interesting than I expected.  I do recommend it if you are in the area.

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