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Daytona 500 Experience Soon To Be History

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2010

photo credit:  Destination 360/google images
photo credit: Destination 360/google images

The Daytona 500 Experience formerly known as Daytona USA used to be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas day, now it will be every day.

Early next month the interactive motorsports facility that opened in 1996 outside turn four of Daytona International Speedway will be shut down to the public.

The 60,000 square foot operation that housed racing simulators, pit-stop events and the NASCAR Imax theatre will still host private events.  The winning car from the Daytona 500 will remain on display and the souvenir shop and restaurant will still be open to the public.

International Speedway Corporation operated by the France family and publicly traded is in cost-cutting mode.

Their total restructuring effort is supposed to save $20 million next year. 

Some 50 employees at the corporate level in Daytona have been or will be laid off.  In August, Robin Braig left his position as president of DIS in pursuit of other opportunities.  Joie Chitwood III was named as his replacement.

Dropping the IndyCar series from the tracks owned by International Speedway Corporation were also part of the cost-cutting effort.

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At Daytona International Speedway, emphasis will be placed on events within the track and track tours which remain popular.

In an interview conducted by the Daytona Beach News-Journal Chitwood was asked if there had been a dramatic drop-off in attendance at the 500 Experience.  Chitwood responded, "It's no different from what we've seen at our racetracks."

NASCAR fans can scratch one more thing off their "to do" list when they visit Daytona which means more money can be spent at the track.

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