Saturday 11/14/2009 Day 2: Daytona 500 Experience
On Saturday we traveled up Interstate 95 to Daytona to tour Daytona International Speedway and the museum. When we arrived we were able to hop onto a tour tram and get onto a tour of the infield. I was surprised that the speedway actually seemed smaller than I thought it was. Seemed like if you were watching a race that you would easily be able to see all the action around the track. It is a large track, don’t get me wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised at the sight lines.
The tour took us into the infield through one of the tunnels under turn 4. The tour guide told us that the Italian Auto Club currently had track time, and we were treated to a steady stream of Ferraris, Mustangs, and other sports cars zooming around the track. Pretty much EVERYONE on the tour was more excited to see the cars racing by than look at the row of garages or grandstands and safety fences.
The banking of the track is REALLY steep, at 30 degrees in the corners. The tour stopped near the new winners circle for us all to get photos there, and view the VIP suites high above the speedway. Still, most people were trying to get views of the sports cars on the track.
After touring the speedway we went into the museum. There were multiple interactive racing simulators (some cost money), lots of cars on display, and lots of Richard Petty memorabilia. Matt Kenseth’s 2009 Daytona 500 winning car was on display right out of the winners circle. There were lots of bugs and gunk on it, and the fenders, front and back, were bashed in from the bump drafting. Really cool.
We watched an IMAX movie in 3D which was pretty good, and then went out to the track to watch some more auto club racing from the turn 4 grandstands. The cars were fast, and you could tell the grandstands were huge.
Overall it was a really nice day, and we spent about 4 1/2 hours at the museum before heading back to Coca Beach.
As always, larger pictures of our full trip to Florida are available from my Flickr photo gallery. Day 3 includes our trip to see the gardens at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne and the beach.