As part of the ongoing effort to recognize Daytona's loyal fans for their dedication and support throughout the DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project, Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday recognized longtime Speedway account holders as the "fans of steel" during a special ceremony at the construction site.
Nearly two dozen race fans and guests, some from as far away as Colorado and Ohio, kicked off the day by taking a "hot lap" around Daytona International Speedway in a pace car and then received a personal DAYTONA Rising project update from Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III.
"It was neat. Never got to do it as a racer, so now we get to do it," said Sam Engel of Davie.
The fans literally became part of history after personally signing a massive 30-foot, 1,300-pound steel beam that will be used to build the new frontstretch grandstands.
"When they first built this track, there was nothing across the street. Nothing! We were out in the middle of the woods. It's been really exciting watching it go along," Engel added.
"Fans are the foundation of Daytona International Speedway and they have ‘built' the legacy of this historic facility," said Chitwood III. "Today was a great opportunity to celebrate the best fans in the world and share an update on the exciting progress of the DAYTONA Rising project."
The day concluded with a guided tour of the DAYTONA Rising construction site, highlighted by the recent steel installation, pile cap installation and completion of water and fire lines.
The track president says they have poured 5 million pounds of concrete so far, but the steel construction has just begun. That project will take another 2-and-a-half years to complete.