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Progress report: Daytona Rising in full swing

January 03, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Progress report: Daytona Rising in full swing
Expansion project won't hinder facility from being Rolex ready

Fans, drivers and teams will notice plenty of changes afoot when they converge on Daytona International Speedway this winter.

Progress continues on the massive $400 million Daytona Rising expansion project, set for a January 2016 completion date. This month, the focus shifts to making the facility race-ready for the Tudor United SportsCar Championship's Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 25-26 and the kickoff of Budweiser Speedweeks, culminating in the 56th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 23.

The hope is to have minimal need for a "pardon our dust" sign on the grounds of the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said that track officials have worked extensively with design/builder partners Barton Malow and Rossetti to help the facility accommodate race fans even as construction continues.

"We are proud of the progress thus far on the Daytona Rising project and equally excited to welcome fans for the start of the 2014 racing season," Chitwood said Friday in a release provided by the track. "They will get an up close and personal look at all the progress we've made to date and hopefully, they will share in the excitement that we've felt since the groundbreaking in July."

Changes already underway to make the track race-ready include relocating the merchandise store building pad outside the frontstretch, building a temporary suite tower lobby and temporary ticketing trailers and the relocation of admission gates and pavement to improve fan access.

Even with the holiday season in full swing, construction crews made major strides in December, installing steel near the middle bowl section of the frontstretch grandstand, making the first elevated concrete pour to construct the first slab on the metal deck and completing pile cap installation.

Once complete, the revamped speedway will have five redesigned entrances, social neighborhoods along the frontstretch, 101,000 wider and more comfortable seats and expanded restroom and concession facilities.

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