'Daytona Rising' construction underway

Published On: Jan 09 2014 05:41:30 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 09 2014 07:12:39 PM EST
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -

Crews continue with construction as they make the Daytona International Speedway "race ready."

20 million pounds of steel is going up, according to Joie Chitwood III, speedway president.

"We're paving areas that weren't paved before, clearing out the dirt, creating the walkways that our fans will use to go from the gates- to the actual grandstands," he said.

Race fan Sally Zooner is not looking forward to walking through the construction site to get to her seat.

"That's going to be rough, that's going to be real rough," she said.

On Thursday, speedway officials gave Local 6 a tour of their progress on Daytona Rising, a $400 million project, renovating the front stretch.

It will take another two years to complete, and fans will be walking past piles of steel and concrete blocks to get to their seats.

"New things create uncertainty, and fans tend not to read what we send them, so we're making sure that we overdo it and they're getting numerous emails, maps, letters from us- we're trying to make sure that they catch something along the way that explains what's happening," said Chitwood.

Speedway officials are debuting a new cross over gate that eliminates two stair cases and a platform.

They hope it will move fans off the field and into the grandstands more quickly.
"I know myself, I've had knee surgery and a replacement in my knee, and it's difficult- so I think that's good," said Zooner.

Speedway officials are beefing up their staff by about two hundred employees- to help guide fans to their seats once races begin at the speedway.