February 20, 2016 By Dan Daley
Daytona Rising is the aptly named reimagination of NASCAR’s flagship venue: the Daytona International Speedway (DIS), on Florida’s Space Coast. In the wake of a 20-year-plus rebuilding of almost the entire infrastructure of major-league sports venues, the new Daytona Rising matches even the largest of them in scale.
Five stories tall, the $400 million project capped two years of construction last month with an official opening taking place just ahead of the Daytona 500 — aka “The Great American Race” — that launched the 2016 NASCAR season.
The revamped venue rivals college football stadiums, with 101,000 permanent seats. Inside the oval, an infographic provided by the DIS shows how 13 major-league and college football stadiums and arenas, including the American Airlines Arena and the Miami Marlines ballpark, could easily fit inside it.
Fans will be able to follow the action wherever they go via nearly 1,500 Samsung and Peerless-AV 47-inch LCD screens
What had been garden-variety grandstands now house 11 “neighborhoods” on the venue’s five levels, comprising 40,000 square feet and accessed by massive escalators called “injectors” that will get those huge crowds to their seats efficiently. Over 60 luxury suites with track-side views will offer corporate guests with a kind of hospitality experience that has never been encountered in a NASCAR track. (To be clear, International Speedway Corp. owns and manages 13 active tracks that collectively host 19 of the 36 events on the schedule of NASCAR’s premier competition, while NASCAR itself sanctions and governs the sport.)
Daytona Rising’s AV is equal to its architectural scale: an equipment list calls for 2,791 audio speakers, mostly JBL’s Control series, which cover the concourse area and suites, plus another 967 AWC series weatherproof speakers for areas exposed to the elements, as well as 295 Community Sound R.5 and R.2 series pole-mounted speakers to cover the grandstands.
Fans will be able to follow the action wherever they go via nearly 1,500 Samsung and Peerless-AV 47-inch LCD screens mounted throughout the concourses and inside concessions and bathrooms. That many units are necessary for a venue whose five-story-tall seating runs unbroken for three-quarters of a mile in length.
More Photos of Daytona Rising
CommScope, one of several DIS technology partners, deployed approximately 220 miles of its Systimax GigaSpeed XL Cat-6 cable, 50 miles of TeraSpeed single-mode fiber-optic cable and all of the terminations supporting the HD displays, digital signage and way-finding signage for synchronized stadium-wide messaging. Perhaps most apparent of the AV main points are two new, larger video display boards in the infield, each measuring 40 x 80 feet (height x width), that flank the two existing infield video screens and collectively provide 8,470 square feet of viewing surface.
The video boards are supported in place by a custom structure measuring 80 feet tall by 80 feet wide built by NEP Screenworks, which fabricated and installed the new video systems (see sidebar).
“It’s not that it’s a complex project — it’s the sheer scale of it; the amount of AV and the distances it has to cover are overwhelming,” says Carlos Gonzalez, president of The Integration Factory, the Rockledge, Fla.-based AV system integrator that handled the Daytona Rising project. “The number of items on the equipment list and the amount of wiring are incredible.”
Guy Savage, engineering manager at The Integration Factory, added some context: a dozen semi-trailers were required just to transport all the video displays, and that many as well for their mounts. “Semi after semi, on a single day,” he recalls. “The logistics of this project were its main challenge.”
With the total number of unit items numbering well into the thousands, logistics-management strategies had to be set up, and they became more complex as the project progressed. For instance, video screens and loudspeakers were used across the entire three-quarters-of-a-mile span of the grandstand and concourse, and their installation needed to begin before the construction elevators were fully in place. So once those items were unloaded, they were unboxed on the ground at a central staging area and partial assembly was done there, such as connecting the displays to their mounts.
They were then lifted in groups by cranes as the height of the grandstand gradually increased.