Daytona International Speedway is one of the most iconic racetracks in stock car racing. This 2.6-mile tri-oval is home to one of the most well-known races in the world – the Daytona 500 – and is a mecca for race fans. But how did the speedway become what it is today? Here is an overview of the history of Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
In 1953, Bill France had a dream to create a modern racetrack, since racing on the beach wasn’t going to be sustainable in the long term. He wanted a track that would highlight the excitement and challenge of stock car racing, while also making it more than just a “Southern thing.” He brought his idea to local architect Charles Moneypenney, and the idea of the Daytona International Speedway was born.
After examining the local automotive proving grounds and deciding that a 31-degree incline would be required for optimal performance, France and Moneypenney obtained 447 acres next to the Daytona Beach International Airport. The construction of the track began on November 25, 1957 – though it didn’t go smoothly right away.
As the crew worked to dig out soil to create the racetrack, the area began to fill with water, flooding 29 acres. France named the area Lake Lloyd and stocked it with fish, eventually using it for speedboat races.
In the meantime, Moneypenney continued work on building the racetrack. He created a patented method of building the track at the proper incline. He used 22 tons of lime mortar to create a proper base, on which he poured asphalt. He then formed the right degree of incline needed by anchoring bulldozers at the top of the banks and attaching paving equipment to them.
They officially completed the speedway in 1959, hosting the first-ever Daytona 500 on February 22, 1959 in front of a crowd of over 41,000 people. Now, it continues to flourish, bringing together racing fans from around the world every year.
Love Honda in Homosassa is only a short drive from Daytona International Speedway, and we enjoy heading to the track to see what exciting events are taking place.