One of the world's most famous sporting venues is about to undergo big changes, and the Daytona International Speedway is working on a plan that could add even more seats to the facility. DIS President Joie Chitwood tells FOX 35 they plan to start right away on a series of upgrades in the grandstands on the north side of the track.
"We've got to have a plan for the next 50 years. As we see all these new sports properties being built with great experiences, and new amenities, we've got to compete with that."
Some of the seats at the track are more than 50 years old. Among the plans they have submitted to the city of Daytona Beach for approval, expansion of the track to 300,000 seats. Chitwood explained that it is a change that is not likely to happen especially in the short term, but they are going for city approval just in case the economy takes a major upswing.
"I think the first thing that we do is make sure that the fans that do attend now with the current number of seats that we have, they have the best experience. If that means we have to expand in the future, that's great, but I don't think we're going to talk about that 300 thousand number until we actually figure our the right amenities that we currently have in the structure now."
When referring to the "right amenities", the track wants to add restaurants inside the track, and perhaps a hotel on Speedway property, either on site, or just across the street from the track where a new retail complex has already been approved. Perhaps the best part of the deal is that Chitwood tells us the Speedway will not go to the taxpayers for a dime if they expand.
"It doesn't cost the taxpayers anything."
The Speedway hopes to start right away on grandstand improvements and finish over the next 3 to 4 years. The retail, hotel, and seat expansion won't be done until it is economically feasible.