Campers arriving at Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks are finding big changes to the RV lot along Williamson Boulevard, where some returning visitors have camped for decades.
The entire lot, outside the track but on Speedway property, was rebuilt in the off-season to try to curb long-time issues with drainage and standing water in the grass and dirt lot, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Speedway officials won’t say how much the project cost, except to say it was in the “seven-digit” range. A stormwater system was installed and the lot’s 2.5 miles of roads paved.
“Anything’s better than what we had,” said Bob Kvach, an RVer from Iowa.
Kvach, who has camped on Speedway property for 49 years, said he has “seen water deep enough it was almost running in the doors.”
“We’ll find out what it’s really like once we get a good rain,” said Kvach, a former pit crew member for retired NASCAR driver Ramo Stott. “But it should drain good.”
The Speedway also added new fencing and thousands of plants and trees, including live oaks, magnolias, and cypress, especially alongside Williamson Boulevard, flanking the main entrance gate where many fans enter the infield.
“We wanted to give a quality introduction,” Andrew Gurtis, vice president of operations for the Speedway, told to the newspaper.
The idea for paving the roads and improving the RV lot was born during the 2010 hurricane season, when the Speedway endured a host of flooding troubles after record rainfall, Gurtis said. “There was only so much we could do with hay and pumps.”
Now, thanks to the 60,000 cubic yards of fill excavated during the construction of two new retention ponds and expansion of three other ponds, Gurtis said the entire RV lot was lifted about 18 inches. And, the campsites slope from a slight ridge to encourage water to flow toward the new storm sewers.
Local contractor P & S Paving performed the work, which took eight weeks and finished in mid-December.
Gurtis, excited about the improvements to the lot, kind of chuckled while giving a tour on the newly paved roads. Most of the work – the miles of storm drain pipes – was done beneath the ground and can’t be seen.
The improvements, Gurtis said, “will pay dividends for years.”
Speedway officials expect to sell out every one of their 770 RV spaces this year, especially because they lost a few with the slight reconfiguration of the lots and newly paved streets.
For campers, the good news besides the improved drainage is the rates for the lot remain the same: $575 to camp from February 7 to 27.
“We’ve been sensitive to pricing ever since the downturn,” said Speedway spokesman Lenny Santiago.
As the motorhomes rolled through the gates in the past week, the campers greeted each other as old friends after camping alongside each other for years, according to News-Journal. Many keep in touch throughout the year and were happy to see each other again. They compared notes on when other campers were due to arrive and made plans to visit their favorite local spots.
Though long-time campers grumbled a bit that they were moved anywhere from a couple of spaces to 11 spaces away this year, they were happy to see the improvements.
“No dust, no water holes,” said Frank Hobson of French Lick, Ind., one of the first campers to arrive for this year’s Speedweeks.
“It’s solid, that surprises me,” Hobson said. “For all that fill, it’s solid.”
Daytona International Speedway Camping
Premium Lake Lloyd, Red, and Yellow camping areas are currently sold out and no longer available for purchase. Please call 1-800-PITSHOP for more information.
New this year fans that purchased a reserved infield campsite will be allowed to drive in and out of the infield. Please make sure to have your vehicle tow pass displayed in your windshield for this special access. Remember, Turn 4 Tunnel has limited hours while Turn 1 Tunnel is open 24 hours.
Alliance Coach, Inc. RV Service will be available to provide RV service. For onsite service please call (352)446-2886. The RV and parts truck will be located in West Lot RV spots #186 and #187.
It’s a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself.