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1937 Bluebird V land speed record car
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Daytona Beach, Florida, March 27, 2001

NASCAR Official Attraction
The Daytona Motorsports Attraction is situated a mile east of exit 87 off Interstate 95, adjacent to the main entrance of the Daytona International Speedway, on West International Speedway Boulevard. The venue was opened in 1996 and in 1998 was made the official NASCAR attraction, with its static and interactive exhibition areas reflecting America’s most popular form of motor sport. On the paved concourse outside the entrance stands a life size bronze sculpture of Bill France and his wife, the founders of NASCAR and builders of the Daytona International Speedway.

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Through The Tunnel
The main exhibition area is known as the Velocitorium, and is entered through twin pit tunnels from the foyer area. Once inside, one is greeted with a taste of Daytona’s history, from the era when the races took place on the beach shores. There is Sir Malcolm Campbell’s world land speed record breaking Bluebird V, that set a new record land speed record of 276.82mph at Daytona Beach in 1935, the last record attempt ever made at the venue. The move from beach races to the speedway vision of Bill France, can be seen through a series of photographs depicting the construction of his dream, together with an array of trophies marking some of the greatest race accomplishments at the Daytona Speedway. There is also a wall of winners, listing the names of all the important race victors since the track opened in 1959.

NASCAR Evolution
A section of banked track in the central part of the exhibition area and suspended full scale models flying towards it, traces the evolution of the NASCAR racer through the years from a model of the 1959 Daytona 500 winning Oldsmobile, through another six models including a 1962 Pontiac, a 1970 Plymouth Superbird, and a 1990 Chevrolet. On the banking sit three cars representing the modern NASCAR Winston Cup stock car, from Chevrolet, Ford and Pontiac. There is a ”Heroes of the Track” section where visitors can hear comments about about NASCAR racing from some of its main protagonists, and an interactive Trivia Tower where you can fight friends with your knowledge, or lack of, about racing at the Daytona Speedway.

Paul Newman
As part of the Heroes of the Track feature exhibition, which also includes a quartet of motorcycles and a pair of Go-karts, is the 1995 Ford Mustang that was used to publicise the film ”Nobody’s Fool” starring Paul Newman. This car carried race number 70 to celebrate his 70th birthday, and he co-drove it to win the GTS-1 class in the 1995 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race, no mean feat for the youngster!

Pit Stop
One of the interactive features is the Ford Ingersoll-Rand 16 second pit stop challenge, where you become a member of the Todd Parrott team pit crew to try and beat the 16 second barrier for a fuel/tyre change on the Quality Care/Ford Credit Taurus. This together with other interactive adventures like ”Racing Appliances”, where you are strapped into a racing seat to experience the 31 degree banking of the Speedway, the STP time trials where you try and set up a car for Pole Day, or the Pepsi film theatre showing of the Daytona 500, provide a very broad spectrum of ”hands on” entertainment for the visitor.

Speedway Tour
If the Motorsport attraction leaves you wanting more, then there is an extensive boutique offering virtually everything for the NASCAR fan, from scale models of the current cars through team T shirts, caps, and jackets, to driver loyalty memorabilia of every description. There is also the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Speedway infield on a shuttle service that leaves every half hour. If you visit before the season starts, you will frequently find teams testing on the circuit. Even when you see them flying past singly, you can conjure up an image of what forty odd cars in close company must look and sound like, then you realise why NASCAR is so popular.

Keith Bluemel