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Daytona 500: Travelers Should Prepare for Crowds, Sun, and Fun

Eager to witness the adrenaline-pumping action on the track, racing enthusiasts from around the globe are on the edge of their seats in excitement for the 65th annual Daytona 500.

By Megan Grubbs | Feb 9, 2024, 10:34 AM

Racing enthusiasts are on the edge of their seats in excitement for the Daytona 500, also referred to as "The Great American Race." This legendary event attracts fans from all around the globe eager to witness the adrenaline-pumping action on the track.

This year marks the 65th annual Daytona 500, which started in February 1959. The NASCAR race takes place at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on February 18 and consists of 200 laps around a 2.5-mile tri-oval track, for a total of 500 miles driven. On average, the Daytona 500 race has a duration of 3.5 hours with around 175,000 attendees.

When planning a trip for the Daytona 500, you’ll want to choose accommodations that are close in proximity to the Speedway. With so many spectators flocking to the area, race-day transportation will be difficult, so start your day early and give yourself plenty of lead time to allow for any traffic delays. Give yourself adequate time to find a parking spot if you're driving to the race, especially if parking in one of the free lots. You might consider paying for reserved parking to ensure you can find a spot. You can review maps and shuttle schedules on the Daytona International Speedway website.

In preparation for the race, it’s recommended to pack a soft-sided cooler with food and water to help minimize costs while enjoying the event, but be sure to check the venue policies on cooler size requirements and other restrictions. Although the views are great from almost every seat, bringing a pair of binoculars will give you a fuller experience. Lastly, you will want to be prepared for all weather conditions while at the Daytona 500—which could be hot, sunny, and humid—or cool, cloudy, and rainy. Dress in layers that you can remove as the day warms up, and be sure to bring sunscreen as you may be sitting in the beating sun all day. If there is a chance of rain you will need to bring a poncho, because there are no umbrellas allowed in the Speedway.

Now that you are prepared for the 65th annual Daytona 500, enjoy your time watching The Great American Race.

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