DIS President Touts Speedway’s Highlights in 2023
Before the final race in NASCAR’s season, Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher made a quick pit spot at Daytona Beach City Hall to brief the City Commission on the events of the past year.
Citing the racing organization’s 75th anniversary in 2023, Kelleher said the milestone “provided us an opportunity to reflect on the sport’s past, present and future.” And that future includes a big role for the facility on International Speedway Boulevard.
Kelleher said NASCAR is working to keep pace with growth and development in the region as well as in auto racing in general.
“Just like our community is changing and growing, NASCAR has had to account for change,” he said, including taking “bold steps” with the season schedule taking the sport to new venues.
Kelleher said while the sport is changing and the auto-racing organization is meeting the challenges of those changes, NASCAR is committed to retaining the core elements of what has made it successful for three-quarters of a century, and a vital piece of the local and state economies.
“NASCAR is truly a success story for Florida,” he said. “It was back in 1958 when crews began clearing the 488-acre property for Daytona International Speedway.” And the enthusiasm and local support from the community was a key factor in turning the vision of a superspeedway into a reality.
Kelleher said the combined presence of NASCAR in the Sunshine State accounts for $1.7 billion in economic impact, according to the Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University.
A big chunk of that economic impact comes from Daytona International Speedway and the Daytona 500, he said.
“The Daytona 500 is recognized as one of the world’s most valuable sports events,” Kelleher said. “One in four Fortune 500 companies are invested in NASCAR today.”
Kelleher said while most people think of the Speedway only in terms of the 500, the facility hosts events year-round. He cited the Rolex 24 at Daytona, set for Jan. 25-28, 2024, as an example of the Speedway’s impact.
“The Rolex 24 turns Daytona into a global destination,” he said.
Kelleher also spoke briefly about the prospects for the Speedway to become the temporary home of the Jacksonville Jaguars as Duval County moves forward on a $1 billion renovation project for its current home.
“We’re top of mind with them to be a potential home for the Jacksonville Jaguars,” he said.