(By Doug Gregory) – While visiting in the Daytona, FL area a friend of mine graciously got my boys and I tickets for an all-access tour of the speedway and also gave us some behind-the-scenes stuff the previous day. Ended up being quite a treat. So…of course we took a LOT of photographs and this is only a portion of all the stuff we saw. We’ll start off with the iconic Turn 4 tunnel. These days they use the newer Turn 1 tunnel. You all may have heard this institution of racing had a recent facelift. It was more than a facelift. Lots of changes. They have this new layout called ‘fan injectors’ and folks they can move some people through them in a hurry. 40 escalators…FOURTY. Seats are now wider to fit your fanny better. Better food. More space. Main grandstand (the backstretch grandstand is gone) is very, very tall. There is some great artwork all over the place. The Chevy SS stock car shown here….not wrapped (as is the custom these days). This one is painted old school way. While at the track there was a Ferrari club event though Ferraris were not the only things out there. The loudest car we heard/saw was a Corvette LMP. We got to see what I consider the epitome of Ferrari, a F40, in the garage area. Yes…not all of them were running all-out, but just to see a few classics out there mixing it up with their grandchildren was pretty stinking cool. We even caught a fleeting glimpse of a Magusta (pretty sure). Going to the Rolex 24 is still on our bucket list.
Once we completed our track tour we entered the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. It’s new. Big main room with several alcoves and two theaters. Lots of memorabilia, dioramas, trophies, portraits and such. Sir Malcolm’s Bluebird pays homage to the land speed racing done not many miles away on the beaches stretching down through Ponce Inlet. There are some pretty interesting displays of hot rods, an airplane, and vintage racers. The cars displayed on the replica 31deg banking are pretty interesting too. It’s a unique way of viewing them and it seems like they are just an arm’s-length away. The more we looked the more we saw and that drew us in to read more of the plaques and displays. Definitely not a waste of one’s time and now we definitely owe our friend for getting us the access. Oh yeah, the Harley Earl trophy sits right close to this year’s Daytona 500 winner just as it was in the winner’s circle. Though we’re not big fans of modern-day NASCAR, this is actually pretty cool to see as well. In the gift shop we managed to score a few items left over from this year’s Rolex 24hr. Most of it was marked at clearance prices. Perhaps the three of us were not their stereotypical visitor. If you happen to be down that way….I highly suggest visiting.