Newly Renovated Daytona International Speedway Redefines “Racetrack” Experience for Fans
“It has to be big and bold. It has to catch people’s attention.” That was the vision set by Joie Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway, for the transformation of the speedway into the world’s first motorsports stadium. The $400 million renovation project, known as Daytona Rising, was a two and half year undertaking focused on giving visitors a one-of-a-kind experience. To entice NASCAR fans from their living rooms to the stadium, every detail of this American icon was redesigned to be modern, new, and progressive, including the concession and retail portable units. Based on its history of innovative designs and collaborative approach, Gallery was chosen to design and supply the food, support and container carts as well as the retail units throughout the three concourse levels.
Now, when fans enter the stadium, they are treated to race cars suspended from the ceiling, a mist wall and waterfall, the nose-cone replica of a space shuttle and flawless delivery of food and merchandising services with upscale menu items such as steak, shrimp scampi and prime rib.
Every year since opening in 1959, the Daytona International Speedway has hosted the Daytona 500, the most prominent race in NASCAR. In addition, ARCA, AMA Superbike, USCC, SCCA, and Motocross also race on its versatile track. With a full schedule of events, the International Speedway Corporation could not afford to close the track. This meant that renovations and construction had to be conducted while the facility remained open for all events. Consequently, the remodel process very unusual to other sports projects and required the coordination of delivery in three phases.
“We’ve worked at the Rose Bowl, at Michigan Stadium and at Penn State’s stadium, but this was different because the facility was open. We very much appreciated Gallery’s flexibility in
working with our unique phased construction plan. They were always willing to go the next mile to make sure the speedway met expectation and was ready on-time.”
Barton Malow Companies
In addition to the phased project plan, Gallery faced the issues of:
- Delivering units to the appropriate location without the use of working elevators.
- Transforming a shipping container into portable bar unit.
- Matching the sleek, stainless steel designs specified by the architect.
Gallery has built a reputation for achieving what often seems impossible, and its units were ready to go in January 2016 when the cars revved their engines to race for the first time in the new “World Racing Center.”
How Gallery Solved the Problem
After working closely with the architects, Gallery’s talented team of designers delivered plans for all units that were sleek and modern, yet strong enough to withstand years of use. The designs included 50 food carts, 50 support carts with registers, 3 container carts and multiple retail units throughout the concourses. Each unit design also took into account overall traffic flow, desired footprint and the
location of necessary utilities.
Once the units were manufactured to meet the rigorous UL and NSF certification requirements, Gallery’s team of technicians carefully coordinated their delivery with the builder’s phased plan. This required the transportation and delivery of units three separate times over two years. Once the products were delivered, Gallery was challenged to figure out how to place the units in their desired locations without the use of elevators. The solution was to make a custom “basket” to hold each unit, and then lift the basket with a crane. While definitely unconventional, this process was effective and efficient, allowing Gallery to adhere to its high standard of service and attention to detail.
Ultimately, the new stadium was about offering fans a carefully crafted experience to increase attendance and revenue for the International Speedway Corporation. In an recent article, Chitwood stated, “I’ve got to make sure that Daytona can command the investment, that it’s worth (fans) time and hard-earned dollars to come to Daytona.” Gallery founder, Dan Gallery Sr., agrees that it is important to not lose sight of the fact that delivering an outstanding experience to clients and consumers is about profitability. “We are not in the business of selling carts,” said Gallery. “Rather we are focused on creating experiences that help our clients achieve or exceed the financial returns they expect.”
Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans
Fan are thrilled with the new Daytona International Speedway. Attracting thousands of visitors to its races, the new motorsports stadium has proven to be a winner for the property owners, racers and fans. Gallery’s products continue to seamlessly support the service of over 100,000 guests each race day. But it’s not time to drop the checkered flag yet. The newly renovated speedway is expected to host 250 events every year including concerts and other sporting events.
“Transporting units to various locations within a 146 feet tall, three-concourse stadium is a challenge. Doing it without elevators, is a situation we’d never encountered before. But, our company is known for never backing down from a challenge.
I am extremely proud of the innovative thinking and team-approach our employees used to get this job done right. It exemplifies the type of dedication and service customers can expect when working with Gallery.”
Dan Gallery V
President of Gallery
- International Speedway Corporation
- Rossetti Architects
- Barton Malow Companies