Fans upset over Daytona 500 construction

Crews work on redevelopment that officially broke ground in July

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The countdown to the Great American Race is on. It's the biggest week for NASCAR racing, and it all leads up to the 56th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

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But race fans have something catching their eyes as they drive down International Speedway Boulevard.

"It puts a crimp in things. It's aggravating to get in here and kind of puts you in a bad mood. You're here to relax and enjoy yourself, but hopefully they get it done soon and everything will be lovely," said Don Woodard, a race fan from Indiana.

Woodard is talking about the $400 million project known as Daytona Rising. Crews were out Monday working on the redevelopment, which officially broke ground in July 2013.

Officials say Daytona Rising will bring in thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the local economy, but with the thousands expected at this year's Daytona 500, some fear the construction could ruin fan experience.

Woodard said, "Hopefully they've got a good game plan and they can eliminate some of the pain for what's going on."

Once Daytona Rising is complete, the revamped speedway will have five redesigned entrances, social neighborhoods along the front stretch, 101,000 wider and more comfortable seats and expanded restroom and concession facilities.

Canadian Bill Sikkes says the project is something worth waiting for.

"The construction is fabulous. It's updating all of the stands and seats and doing all the additional work. I think it looks very impressive and very professional," Sikkes said.

Speedway officials hope Daytona Rising will be finished before the 2016 racing season, and in the meantime, about 200 employees will be hired to help guide fans to their seats.

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