Jack: When you turn off I-95, the grandstands loom above the trees and buildings. Your heart races a bit knowing that this the real deal. As we got closer and began to see the speedway, it is everything I'd dreamed about. We parked and headed toward the museum, passing over the hand prints in the sidewalk of many past winners. There were statues of Bill France, his wife and Bill France Jr. but the one of Dale Earnhardt is the most awe inspiring.
Gail: At the Speedway, we took the 90 minute "All Access Tour". It took us around the track, along the infield, down pit road, into the NASCAR Sprint Cup garages, the Drivers' Meeting Room and Victory Lane. We saw the Daytona Rising Project, the Daytona Championship Car, damage, confetti and all, and sat in the VIP Suite along the backstretch.
Jack: The first stop on our speedway tour was outside of turns three and four. Looking over the edge was like looking straight down. I never realized what a 33 degree grade actually looked like. We passed that area again later from the inside apron and, yes, it almost hurts your neck looking up at the catch fence above. We stopped several times to see the backstretch VIP tower, driver's meeting room, inside the garages, a cup car vs. a Rolex 24 prototype, etc. We toured down pit road and out onto the front straight stopping at the start-finish line. Walking on the 18 degree banking was a thrill! Oh, we had our picture taken in Victory Lane (so cool!!). Our tour ended back inside the museum, viewing the 2012 winning Jimmy Johnson car number 48. It's in the exact condition it left Victory Lane last February. How cool is that!! Also saw the Harley J. Earl Trophy, which is absolutely awesome.
Jack, on the Tri-Oval, walking up the 18% grade by the Start/Finish Line. He managed it just fine; I stood back and took the photo...I know my limitations!
We had our picture taken on Victory Lane.
|Championship Car - notice the confetti|
The Harley J. Earl Perpetual Trophy rests year round inside the Daytona 500 Experience and bears the name of every Daytona 500 Champion. No name appears more than Richard Petty with 7 victories.
Below: (left) Dale Earnhardt's and (right) Jeff Gordon's
Plaques on the Daytona 500 Champion's Walk of Fame
Gail: It was a bright, sunny, cool day, and so windy that I lost a favorite earring, but it was an awesome day at the Speedway!!!
Jack: If you're ever in Florida, it's a must see/do experience, well worth the money. If you're a racing nut, it may even bring some goose bumps.
Gail: A couple of days later, the temps were up and the wind was down so we drove over to Daytona Beach. Just as Jack was wondering if you could still drive on the beach, we came upon a road that lead right to the beach...so onto the sand we went. I'm not sure monster trucks like ours are meant to drive on soft sand but Jack put it into 4 wheel mode and drive we did! I got a few pics of the beach but, unfortunately none of us driving on it.
Jack: Visiting Daytona Beach was really cool. After reading about it and seeing it in movies and TV shows, driving on the beach was absolutely awesome. The waves within 40 feet, the sun shining with a gentle breeze, people enjoying themselves all along the 2 miles of beach access. The only bad part was I couldn't stop and park. The dually was just too heavy and sunk into the sand whenever we got off the packed roadway. All in all, a great experience, one I always thought would never happen.
Scratch two items off my bucket list!!
On Daytona Beach. All in all, a very cool experience! Maybe one day we'll be back for a race...
While we were visiting Daytona we stayed at Nova Campground in Port Orange and had a very nice, although very shady, campsite.