Crowd watches sellout Daytona 500 from International Speedway

Fans say One Daytona made experience even more enjoyable

By Loren Korn - Reporter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Many race fans were still milling around on Monday, a day after the Daytona 500, NASCAR'S biggest event of the year. 

The race sold out for the fourth year in a row, with thousands more in the infield, according to Daytona International Speedway officials.

"Yesterday was awesome. You know, when they're really close like that, you're just sitting on the edge of your seat," Robin Morissett said.

One couple survived a horrific crash two years ago and made it their mission to watch a race.

"This was our anniversary and our bucket list," Bertie Flood said.

She and her husband watched the race from Fan Alley and said it was an amazing experience and a wonderful way to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

"I mean, this, for us, the Super Bowl because it's the start off of the season. And to be here at the 61st running was just phenomenal," Flood said.

Race fans also crossed the street to take advantage of One Daytona, where management said it used social media around the clock to remind fans of all the dining, shopping and entertainment options.

"I remember coming here years ago and there was nothing but open fields over there and now you got all these big, beautiful buildings. Bass Pro Shops is really, really nice," Mike Hicks said.

The shop was also really, really busy, according to general manager Todd Blanchard.

"We saw double digit increases in foot traffic every day over the weekend starting on Wednesday," said Todd Blanchard, general manager of Bass Pro Shops.

Blanchard said, not only did his store stay packed, but he noticed the other stores and restaurants were full throughout the weekend and believes the sunny weather played a role. Blanchard said sunscreen was actually his No. 1 seller and sold out by Sunday morning.

"We never know what Mother Nature is going to do, right? This is really the first year it kind of caught us off guard a little bit with the 80-degree sunshine, but we'll be ready for next year," he said.
 

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