Daytona International Speedway plans major redesign, will reduce capacity

International Speedway Corporation has announced that it will undertake a massive redevelopment of NASCAR's flagship track, Daytona International Speedway, in a three-year project that will completely revamp the look and feel of the track.

The project will begin with a ceremonial groundbreaking in July, and is expected to be completed in time for the 2016 Rolex 24 and the Daytona 500, at an estimated cost of $375 million to $400 million.

The goal is to create a more fan-friendly (and safe) environment that allows for both fan interaction and good racing sightlines. According to the plan, five "injectors" along International Speedway Boulevard would route fans to one of several concourse levels. From there, fans could visit several "neighborhoods," each the size of a football field, to socialize as they watch the race either live or via video screens.

DIS will replace every seat in the frontstretch with wider, more comfortable seats. The backstretch grandstands will be torn down. The final capacity will be 101,000, with the option to increase to 125,000, down from an estimated 160,000 now. And, of course, ISC will take care of the big dogs. There will be 53 suites along the mile-long frontstretch for corporate partners.

ISC had sought to work out a public/private partnership with the state of Florida, touting the project's $1.6 billion in annual economic benefits. But that partnership failed, forcing the company to cut back on plans such as a redeveloped midway. Plans for a multi-use recreation facility across the street from the track are still subject to numerous government approvals.

Construction will begin right after the 2013 Coke Zero 400, and should not affect major races during Speedweeks in 2014. For more information on the project, ISC recommends fans check out the redevelopment site.