Going to the Daytona International Speedway for the first time blows your mind
The buildup to the trip out to Daytona to join our friends HSR for their Classic 24 event has consisted of a few planning meetings, the laborious process of getting a VISA, making some overseas friends over emails and of course in the immediate days (hours) before, getting everything packed and ready for the trip.
We being the slightly sad individuals that we are, added to that with more than a few laps of the International Speedway on a popular racing game, as well as a few re-watches of prior race meetings, to familiarise with the circuit and get our eye in for vantage points.
What nothing can prepare you for, though, is the assault on the senses that this place delivers right from when the enormous grandstands come in to view as you cross the bridge on Speedway Boulevard. You trundle closer and with every break in the local architecture, it looms higher and higher like some mythical gladiatorial structure built for us to watch monsters do battle. Of course, in a manner of speaking, that’s exactly the circumstance of this place’s construction. Daytona is undoubtedly in the front row of the greatest circuits America has to offer a globe-trotting motorsport fan, hosting sportscars, GP bikes, the thunderous NASCARs and more.
Drive through the tunnel to access the infield and you quickly realise Daytona has swallowed you whole. Part way through the Wednesday practice as the the bankings cupped the midday heat and the yowl of Historic Sportscar Racing, we were a captive of Daytona’s assault on our senses.
Bless the American folk for being so friendly and forward. Pulling in to the car park ready to collect our buggy, a guy delivering barrels of fuel collared us: “You guys from England, huh? Ever been to Daytona? It’s amazing, you’re gonna love it! I've been a thousand times and I'm still not over it!"
We know the feeling.
We’ve got a weekend of Classic 24 racing ahead and at this point, we’re excited to see what flat-out action at night is going to be like. For now, we hope we’ve delivered some insight of what it's like to be a Brit' experiencing Daytona for the first time.