Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Major changes to Daytona International Speedway are coming soon.
International Speedway Corporation, which owns DIS, announced on Tuesday that its board of directors has approved funding to redevelop the frontstretch of the famed 2.5-mile racetrack. Groundbreaking for the project is scheduled to begin on July 5, which is the day before the 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here, and is targeted for completion in January 2016, prior to the Rolex 24 and Daytona 500.
The redevelopment is expected to cost between $375 million to $400 million. ISC plans to fund the redevelopment from cash on hand, cash from its operations and may use borrowings on its credit facility for a limited period of time to even out cash flow.
"We are truly creating history with this unprecedented endeavor," ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy said. "I commend the board's decision to move forward on our plan to redevelop the company's signature motorsports facility, thereby shaping the vision of Daytona for the next 50 years."
Following an unsuccessful bid for a public and private partnership with the State of Florida during a recent legislative session, ISC was forced to reduce the scale of its redevelopment plan. Among the features that were revised and no longer included in the redevelopment plan was a major overhaul of the midway area.
In February, track president Joie Chitwood III revealed information about redeveloping the grandstand area along the frontstretch, which includes more fan amenities and redesigned entrances into the venue.
ISC noted every seat in the speedway's frontstretch will be replaced with wider and more comfortable seating. Current seating capacity at DIS is listed at 147,000, but that number will be reduced to approximately 101,000 capacity, with the potential to increase to 125,000.
The track opened in 1959 and has hosted the Daytona 500 each year since then.