The Frontstretch: Voices From the (Expensive?) Seats: BSNews! France Explains DIS Improvements by Jeff Meyer -- Friday June 21, 2013

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As it turns out, in the fantasy world of Brian France’s NASCAR, nothing is left to fate and all things are connected.

Now that France has convinced other family members, the ones that run International Speedway Corporation, to pony up a projected 400 million or so to enhance his landscaping, the true reasoning for the upgrades has been revealed.

A press release from DIS details a few of them.

International Speedway Corporation approved funding to redevelop the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway, the Company’s 54-year-old flagship motorsports facility, to enhance the overall experience for its fans, marketing partners and the motorsports industry. This historic, multi-year project will break ground on July 5, 2013, and is targeted for completion in January 2016, in time for the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 58th DAYTONA 500. The redevelopment is expected to cost between $375 million to $400 million, excluding capitalized interest. The Company expects to fund the redevelopment from cash on hand, cash from its operations and may use borrowings on its credit facility for a limited period of time to even out cash flow.

The backstretch grandstand at Daytona will be just a memory by the 2016 Daytona 500, according to the speedway’s redesign plan.

The vision for the redevelopment of the Daytona International Speedway frontstretch places an emphasis on enhancing the complete fan experience, beginning with five expanded and redesigned fan entrances, or injectors, along International Speedway Boulevard. Each injector would lead directly to a series of escalators and elevators that would transport fans to any of three different concourse levels, each featuring spacious and strategically-placed social “neighborhoods” along the nearly mile-long frontstretch.

A total of 11 neighborhoods, each measuring the size of a football field, will enable fans to meet and socialize during events without ever missing any on-track action, thanks to an open-sightline design throughout each concourse and dozens of added video screens in every neighborhood. The central neighborhood, dubbed the “World Center of Racing,” would celebrate the history of Daytona International Speedway and its many unforgettable moments throughout more than 50 years of racing.

Every seat in the Speedway frontstretch will be replaced with wider and more comfortable seating, with more restrooms and concession stands throughout the facility. At the conclusion of the redevelopment, Daytona International Speedway will be comprised of approximately 101,000 permanent seats, with the potential to increase permanent seating to 125,000.

There will be no capacity changes for the 2014 DAYTONA 500. The eventual decrease in capacity could occur in stages following the 2014 DAYTONA 500 and will include the complete removal of the backstretch grandstand by the start of the 2016 motorsports season. By moving all seating to the frontstretch, all attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a full race day experience including pre-race ceremonies, pit road action and the facility’s new amenities. (Courtesy: Daytona International Speedway Press Release, June 18th)

BSNews reporter, Stu Padasso, recently sat down with France and got the full scoop on the reasons behind these changes.

Stu Padasso, BSNews!: How did you get the family to go along with this scheme and more importantly, pay for it?

Brian: Well, there are many, well not a whole lot but more than a few, which is many, but you know they’re not all that important but I guess the most important thing is that they now realize how in touch I am with the average fan. I simply stood up for the fans, especially the fans that we don’t have so many of and told them this is the way to bring them all in under one roof, so to speak.

Stu: I don’t understand “Fans you don’t have so many of?” Are we talking about minorities here?

Brian: Well, yes I guess, you could call them that but I prefer to refer to them as “unenlightened and lacking opportunity.” Our sport is, and it wasn’t always this way, a very multi-cultural entity now. We even have a full-time woman driving now.

Stu: Uh… OK, moving on. The press release mentioned “injectors.” Why can’t we just call them what they are, namely entrances?

Brian: Entrances are so passé. We want to “inject” our new fans right into their respective “neighborhoods.” The places where they will feel more at ease and at home, so to speak.

Stu: Well, yeah, I was going to ask about these “neighborhoods.” Can you explain more about them?

Brian: Yeah well, as I understand it, so many of the fans we don’t have are from very different places and walks of life, when we do inject them, we want them to feel like this is a place they would like to stay at. For example; each “‘hood,” as I hear the youngsters calling them these days, will have very different vendors providing foods and amenities that they are familiar with on the outside. The vendors, by the way, are of course the ones we own, Americrown or something like that, I forget specifically, but they will provide things like ribs, chicken, greens, etc. in one “‘hood” while another “‘hood” will be serving tacos, burritos and such. The one we are working very hard on, mostly because the nature of the food it will serve has the potential to be a massive income generator, is the one serving chow mein, kung fu pow chicken or something like that, along with other ethnic dishes indigenous, or commonly found, if you will, in a similar “‘hood” on the outside. As I understand it, those particular foods cause one to feel full at the time of consumption, but yet allow you to be hungry again an hour or so later so you can see the potential revenue generator there.

Stu: Well yes, yes I guess so but really, do you need 11 different “‘hoods” as you like to call them?

Brian: Oh, most definitely! While I can’t remember all of them, I am told that here, in our land of the “melting pot” there are at least 11 different types of fans that we don’t have.

Stu: OK, well what about the fans you do have? The ones that built the sport in the first place?

Brian: Rest assured, we have not forgotten them as evidenced by the new seating arrangements. When you think about it, what is the one thing people complain most about on an airplane? It’s the seats, right? We’ve done studies that have shown that our current fans are getting, how shall I say this… well, having a “larger fan base,” to put it in marketing terms. While we are striving to have a larger fan base, it turns out the fans themselves are having a “larger fan base,” if you get my meaning. Kind of ironic, really. That’s why we are making each seat larger and more comfy.

Stu: Does this plan have anything to do with your overall “Diversity” program? It sounds to me like you want to force these “fans you don’t have” to come. I mean, calling entrances “injectors” and all, it sounds like you are trying to “inject” the fan into motorsports like fuel into a race engine.

Brian: Fuel injectors! Wow, I never thought of that! That is very good, I think we are actually planning on using something called “fuel injectors” on our cars soon. This could be tied directly in to ads as we tout these new changes. Stu Padasso, you’re a genius!

BSNews… your first thought is our first name!

Stay off the wall, (unless you’re escaping “The ‘Hood!)”

Stu Padasso

Contact Jeff Meyer

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connie moore
06/21/2013 11:23 AM

brian france is a idiot
if he has that much money feed the hungry i do not see thatimproving the grounds will bring in fans so many changes does not help [rules] we loose our passion for racing

Old Timer
06/21/2013 11:31 AM

Do I get my Scottish neighborhood?!? I want my haggis and blood pudding and clapshot and my whisky and stout while wearing my Jimmy Clark t-shirt and my Jackie Stewart hat!!

06/21/2013 02:20 PM

Great reporting as always Stu (still cracking up about the name)

Now they will have an excuse for all the empty seats. They will all be in the “hood” of course. Does that mean the term “Boyz In The Hood” will be back in style or should it be “Boyz and Girlz in the Hood” as not to offend anyone.

What about my Irish neighborhood. Just park the beer hauler there and the place will be packed ;-)

Wayne T. Morgan
06/21/2013 03:13 PM

I have a great idea!! How about better racing and lower prices. Then I’ll won’t care what side of town I’m from!!!

Carl D.
06/21/2013 06:13 PM

Daytona could import hotdogs from Martinsville for the Redneck hood. Hell, since ISC owns Martinsville, they could just take them. On the other hand, I wonder if Brian France or any of his henchmen even know where Martinsville is.

06/22/2013 12:11 AM

jeff meyer, you made me laugh out loud.

06/22/2013 05:27 PM

Oh my word! Every time Brian France opens his mouth he sounds like an idiot. Bigger seats for the “fan base”. Ugh! I’m really surprised that the France family is spending all that capitol for Daytona. They need someone with a plan to get the fans FROM the track AFTER the race, back to the parking lots. Interesting, too, isn’t it that they are DECREASING the number of seats at Daytona.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.