Daytona 500 Experience
Because there can’t be a stock-car race every day or even every month, the Daytona 500 Experience (1801 W. International Speedway Blvd., 386/681-6800, www.daytonausa.com, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $24 adults, $19 seniors and children, children 5 and under free) was expressly designed to give fans of the sport a reason to visit Daytona and soak up some of the atmosphere of burning rubber and exhaust fumes even when the cars aren’t running.
Museum-type attractions like NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow, an IMAX theater, and a walk of fame with handprints and autographs captured in cement give gearheads something to ooh and aah over; less devoted visitors can get their thrills on a handful of driving simulators. A guided bus tour of the track itself bumps the price of admission up to $55.
Hard-core fans can undertake the Daytona Riding Experience ($135), which puts you in the passenger seat as a professional driver takes you out for three laps around the track; well-heeled hard-core fans can actually get behind the wheel of a race car for 8, 16, or 24 laps around the track ($549–2,199).
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition