DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Racing will return in full force to the Daytona International Speedway this summer.
What You Need To Know
- Daytona International Speedway has announced that the Coke Zero 400 in August will have a full-capacity crowd
- Officials say the decision was made with input from local and state health leaders
- More: Daytona International Speedway announcement on capacity expansion
Track leaders have announced the Coke Zero 400 in August will go forward at full capacity.
“We have a very large group internally that works with local and state health officials and they constantly analyzing everything that is going on in the pandemic," said Frank Kelleher, the new president of the Daytona International Speedway. "And it was that group that made the decision that the end of August is that exact moment in time where we can have zero restrictions."
Kelleher said the decision was made now so fans have time to plan, but all the details are still being worked out.
“We are going to welcome vaccinated guests as well as non-vaccinated guests," Kelleher said. "We are still working through all of our protocols of our event, but I just want to make crystal clear that the safety and the health of not only our fans, but this community, our competition, our staff, is the No. 1 priority."
According to Kelleher, officials will keep a close eye on how things progress with the pandemic over the next few months, and if they need to adjust any protocols, they will do so. He said he expects big crowds, as ticket sales have gone up since the announcement.
“Having this place filled with fans, they just bring such a huge energy and excitement that is why we get out of bed every day," he said.
Big things are brewing in Daytona Beach! With Daytona International Speedway leaders announcing they are going to full capacity for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 in August, local businesses like Copperline Coffee expect to see a boost in business come race day @MyNews13 #News13Volusia pic.twitter.com/20ThfnnQLN— Nicole Griffin (@NicoleNews13) May 13, 2021
This is great news for local business owners, like Nick West, of Copperline Coffee. West said just before the start of the pandemic, they did great business when fans rolled into town for the Daytona 500.
“So many people came through there was a line out the door for hours, you know, and it was jammed packed, it was pretty amazing,” said West.
However, it was a different story during the pandemic — with the speedway, which seats over 100,000, only allowing less than a third of fans to watch races in person. West saw his race weekend business drop by at least 20%. While he said that Copperline is still doing well, West hopes NASCAR’s decision will give his business the same jolt his coffee gives his customers.
“I know we have to gear up for sure, we better be ready for them, so we’ll have to get staffed up and be ready and prepared," he said. “I have a feeling that we are going to be busier than we have ever been, the way things are going, things are looking up for sure.”
You can find tickets and more information about the Coke Zero 400 scheduled for August 28th, 2021, here.