DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -

A smoking ban will prevent NASCAR fans from lighting up in the grandstands at Daytona International Speedway starting with the Coke Zero 400 in July.

Fans will be required to use certain designated areas behind the grandstands once the ban takes effect.

Joie Chitwood III, the Speedway's president, said it's a sign of the times and that no other venue in Florida allows smoking in the stands.

In the meantime, smokers are being encouraged not to smoke in the seating areas during Speedweeks ahead of this Sunday's Daytona 500.

The ban, however, is not mandatory, said Chitwood, because smokers bought their tickets under the notion they could smoke.

A group called Drve4copd, which screens for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking, is sponsoring one of the races during Speedweek. Danica Patrick is the group spokesperson.