The Daytona 500 NASCAR Speedway races 2011, parking, events

Daytona 500 NASCAR races 2011

Once again it’s almost time for the Daytona 500 NASCAR races 2011! Each year thousands of die-hard NASCAR race fans converge on the Central Florida area for the races and lots of tail gate partying.

The Daytona 500 NASCAR race is the pinnacle of stock car racing. In fact, you might say it’s the Holy Grail of NASCAR. On February 20, 2011, you can see 43 of the best NASCAR drivers on the planet compete for the ultimate prize in stock-car racing, with 200 laps of edge-of-your-seat excitement.

The big race begins at 1 p.m. EST, but you’ll want to arrive early to take advantage of the pre-race festivities. In fact, you might want to arrive really early to get in on some of the Speedweeks action.

This year’s Speedweeks at Daytona start on Thursday, February 10 and continue until the running of the Daytona 500. Experience practice races, qualifying races, autograph sessions, and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. On Saturday, February 19, enjoy the driver introductions and the final practice for the big race.

There is always lots of NASCAR vendors who set up shop in the front of the Daytona speedway in the wide grassy areas. There you can buy all kinds of NASCAR merchandise of your favorite driver plus see lots of cool things, like monster trucks and more.

On the day of the Daytona 500, Brad Paisley, Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, will be entertaining the crowds in the Pre-Race Show. The Air Force Thunderbirds will also be performing an amazing aerial show for racing fans.

Daytona 500 Sprint FANZONE
If you’re a die-hard race fan, you might want to consider a pre-race pit pass with the Sprint FANZONE.

With this pass, you’ll have the opportunity to walk the track, listen to live entertainment at the Entertainment Stage, enjoy a question-and-answer session with the drivers, have a meal and a cold Budweiser at the Budweiser Bistro, have your picture taken with show cars, watch cars get inspected by NASCAR officials, and see the teams and drivers working in the garages.

You’ll even get to put your signature on the starting line before the running of the primo event!

Parking is free at all the Daytona Speedway’s parking areas. Spots are available on a first-come-first-served basis, unless you have reserved parking. If you have a disabled sticker or license plate, you can park in the accessible areas in Lot 1, Lot 6, Lot 10, and Lot KC-H.

Also, if you park in Lot 7 or Lot 10, you can take advantage of the free Park and Ride shuttle, which will take you to the race and return you once the race is over.

Many of the shops close by the Daytona speedway also sell parking spots if you can’t find room at the free areas. Whatever you do, do NOT try to park in the parking lot of any shops not selling park spaces. If you do your car WILL be towed!

For those with a camper or RV the west and back side of the Daytona speedway turns into a giant RV park with thousands of campers and RV’s of all kinds. It’s amazing how many RV’s can fit in there!

Daytona 500 NASCAR races 2011
Click picture for full size view of track

The Atmosphere
The atmosphere at the Daytona 500 is electrifying! It’s really like a huge party, and with any decent party, you have to have food. The Daytona International Speedway will not disappoint in this regard.

Numerous concession areas can be found around the track and offer tacos, burgers, hot dogs, salads, nachos, pizza, Cuban sandwiches, turkey legs, barbecue, chicken tenders, Philly cheese steaks, London broil, and sub sandwiches.

Of course, you’ll need some frosty brewskies to wash it all down, and you’ll find half-yard draft refills for only $5 each.

Getting there
The “Superbowl of Stock Car Racing” is just a short drive from Orlando, so if you’re planning a family vacation, the Daytona 500 would be a great side trip. From Orlando, take I-4 East and then hop on I-95 North.

Take your very next exit (261) onto International Speedway Blvd. which is also route 92 and head East. The Daytona 500 Speedway is just a mile or so down on your right.

However I-4 can get very clogged up with traffic that day. So another way to get there from Orlando is to take the Beeline expressway East all the way to I-95 North. Then take exit 261 as above.

While you’re in Daytona, you might want to take a stroll through the Daytona 500 Experience museum, which is located next to the track. Have fun this year at the NASCAR Daytona 500 races 2011!