Daytona: A Personal Invitation

At the risk of sounding like a total shill for NASCAR, I'm going to propose that everyone join me at some point during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.

It's no secret that this is my first visit to the famed World Center of Racing and I'm absolutely in a state of awe. To echo my gonzo piece on Talladega Superspeedway in April, this place is absolutely massive. So much so that photographs, video and your wildest dreams can't do this place justice.

Everyone's familiar with the phase, "If you build it they will come." That's an indirect quote from Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams where farmer Ray Kinsella is persuaded by something to build a baseball field for legends of yesteryear.

Much like the Field of Dreams, Bill France created his own stadium a few blocks away from their old stomping grounds near Daytona Beach and boy did they come.

The race attracts roughly 250,000 fans each year, drawing from all 50 states and over a dozen countries.

More impressively, the facility attracted a massive city over the past several decades, growing from a niche beach community to perhaps the second-largest racing-related city in the country (second to Indianapolis).

This is in stark contrast to most other tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, which were built primarily on endless acres of farmland and remain isolated from the metropolitans they are associated with. Directly across from the facility sits a K-Mart and Burger King. Adjacent with the track is a Pier-1 imports. Every major consumer brand has staked a claim near NASCAR's most impressive property. The end result was the perfect fusion of city and speedway.

My point is that there's no reason not to come out as everything is within walking distance and tickets are reasonably priced.

Grandstand tickets for tonight's Bud Shootout can be had from $50-$100 with Daytona 500 tickets starting at $65. The track is built on such massive property that parking is never an issue and a steady stream of trams can take you wherever you need to go.

So come out to Daytona - you won't regret it.

We'll be back in a couple of hours with an ARCA Series race thread. Follow us on Twitter @MattWeaverSBN and @NASCARRnR.

Today's schedule:

10 - 10:45 a.m. -- Final ARCA practice
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. -- CUP PRACTICE (for all cars)
2 - 3:45 p.m. -- CUP PRACTICE
4 p.m. -- ARCA driver introductions
4:30 p.m. ARCA RACE (80 laps, 200 miles)
8:10 p.m. -- BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT (75 laps, 187.5 miles)
11:30 p.m. -- CUP garage closes

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