Daytona Speedway RV Park Improved

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.”

Kyle Busch edges Tony Stewart by .013 seconds to win the 2012 Budweiser Shootout. (Source: daytonainternationalspeedway.com)

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.

There are three level of seating at the Daytona 500, Chair, Box, and Tower Seating. The most desirable tickets are the ones located in the tower seating areas towards the center of the track. The track itself is a 2 1/2 mile Tri-Oval. (Source: eseats.com)

“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.”

Details

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.

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Tickets & RV Sites Still Available for Daytona 500

About 82,000 fans filled the stands during the Bud Shootout Sunday (February 29), but only a fraction of those fans parked their RVs inside a speedway campground north of the speedway.

One of those is 68-year-old Lilly Blinkkhorn Hamilton who says the campground seemed empty.

She and her husband have been coming to the same campground for the past 12 years.

“You used to be full at this time, difficult to find a parking spot, “said Hamilton.

Hamilton blamed the economy on the 20 or so RVs inside the campground, reports Central Florida News 13.

Gary Flagg said he has been setting up his RV sales and repairs tent inside the campground for the same amount of years Hamilton has been there.

He agreed the campsite was emptier than in years past.

He said there are fewer RVs because the speedway changed the scheduled racing dates adding an extra week during Speedweeks.

“This year is a little different than years in the past because it’s over a two weekend period versus a normally eight or nine day period. So a lot of folks who normally would’ve had that one week off have held off,” said Flagg.

In an earlier news release, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III announced that the 54th Annual Daytona 500 would be held on Sunday, February 26, 2012.

Daytona 500 Practice. In this photo: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin (Source: zimbio.com)

“The decision to kick-off to the NASCAR racing season one week later was made in close partnership with the sanctioning body, our broadcast partners including FOX, community partners, and others within the industry,” said Chitwood.

“This move shortens the racing season by one week, which is something the teams and competitors will surely enjoy, and it eliminates the off-weekend typically scheduled in March, which many fans and media partners have said created a drop in momentum in the early part of the racing season.”

Flagg told Central Florida News 13 that his business is down as much as 50 percent since he first set up shop more than a decade ago.

He sells parts to other RV owners in nearby campsites and said there were fewer RVs in other campgrounds as well.

“Very, very disturbing because a lot of them are my friends have been over the years,” said Hamilton.

The owner of the campground hopes race fans will be pulling up to his campsite as the Great American Race date nears.

The Daytona 500 is scheduled this year for February 26.

The First Daytona 500
On February 22, 1959, Daytona International Speedway hosted the first Daytona 500. The posted awards for the “500-Mile International Sweepstakes” totaled $67,760. A field of 59 cars took the green flag for the start of the 200-lap race. A crowd of 41,000 was on hand to witness the beginning of another chapter in the history of racing in Daytona.

Details

Gatorade Duel for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Thursday, February 23, 2012, 2:00 p.m.

The Gatorade Duel at Daytona features two 150-mile qualifying races that determine the starting lineup for the 54th annual Daytona 500.

Daytona 500 qualifiers, February 17, 2011 (Source: AP Photo/David Graham)

NextEra Energy Resources 250 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (100 laps, 250 miles)

Friday, February 24, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

The tough trucks from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will tackle Daytona International Speedway in a 100-lap, 250-mile battle that is famous for its wild and unpredictable three-wide racing.

DRIVE4COPD 300 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series (120 laps, 300 miles)

Saturday, February 25, 2012, 1:15 p.m.

The rising stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series face off against the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in a 120-lap, 300-mile event.

54th Annual Daytona 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (200 laps, 500 miles)

2011 Champion: Trevor Bayne

Sunday, February 26, 2012, 1:00 p.m.

Forty-three of the top drivers in the world compete in “The Great American Race,” NASCAR’s biggest, richest, and most prestigious motorsports event.

Tickets

Tickets for all Daytona International Speedway events are available online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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