The Super Bowl is now behind us and the champion Denver Broncos are set to make the proverbial pilgrimage to Disney World in celebration. Lucky for them because while they’re down in the Sunshine State, they can make the short trip from Orlando to Daytona Beach and take in the so-called Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing. The Daytona 500 has been as much of a February tradition as Valentine’s Day during its 57-year history, and there are few events that symbolize the American spirit more. From its origins on Daytona’s white-sand beaches to the fact that only domestic vehicles have ever won, the Daytona 500 truly is the Great American Race.
For all its history, however, the race is unafraid to embrace the future. The 58th running of the Daytona 500 will be the first since the Daytona International Speedway’s $400 million renovation project, which includes 7,100 solar panels that will prevent roughly 2,200 metric tons in carbon emissions annually. It’s also one of only two NASCAR tracks, along with Talladega, that require restrictor plates to limit speeds in the hopes of preventing serious injuries to drivers and fans. Fourteen drivers have perished in Daytona International Speedway history, after all, yet many argue that restrictor plates actually increase the odds of a multi-car crash.
So whether you watch for the skill of the drivers, the deftness of the pit crews or the power of the cars, the 2016 Daytona 500 is sure to have fireworks in store. To help you get your engines running before the green flag flies, we put together an awesome infographic that breaks down the dollars, cents and other interesting stats associated with this tradition on the track. We also hosted a Q&A with a panel of leading motorsports and economics experts for additional insight into the business of NASCAR.
For more insight into NASCAR's most famous race, we posed the following questions to a panel of leading business and motorsports experts. You can check out their bios and responses below. Enjoy the race!
- How do NASCAR’s long term prospects for financial viability compare to other major sports?
- To what extent do fantasy games, particularly daily fantasy contests, drive the popularity of NASCAR, and how does this compare to other sports?
- What kind of economic impact do you expect the race to have on the Daytona Beach area?
- Who is your pick to win the 2016 Daytona 500 race?