- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Thousands of race fans are looking forward to their first glimpse of the expanded Daytona International Speedway.

The public will finally get a look at the new, 101,500-seat stadium on Friday, the Daytona Beach News-Journal (https://bit.ly/1NYNvNX ) reported on Sunday.

The official debut of the $400 million project will be Jan. 28 when a practice event for the Rolex 24 and qualifying event for the exotic WeatherTech Sportscar Championship are held at the speedway.

The new stadium is nearly a mile long. The top row of seats reaches 150 feet, high enough for spectators to see the Atlantic Ocean.

The expansion project known as Daytona Rising began in July of 2013.

Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said speedway workers, fans and racers are excited to see the finished product.

Speedway officials plan to use the stadium for more than racing. The Country 500 Music Festival is scheduled for May and will feature country stars preforming on three stages.

This fall, the speedway will host an international Ferrari event. It will be the first time the Ferrari-only event will be held on American soil.

“We will keep plugging and working on what is next, but we are really proud we got those two announced events,” Chitwood said. ”Right now our goal is get ourselves prepared and make sure we manage through January, February and March. We’ll see what else we can add to the calendar.”

Unlike the old grandstands, the stadium will be wired with state-of-the-art electronics, such as flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi.

The Speedway has developed its own app for Android or Apple devices, which is loaded with information on where to park, how to access the correct fan injector and numerous other handy bits of information. Less tech-savvy fans won’t be left out, either.

“We will have so many more guest services staff working the events, we want to make sure we over-communicate about our new stadium,” Chitwood said. ”People on property will be very knowledgeable about direction. We knew we had to build a great property and communicate to people how to use it.”

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Information from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, https://www.news-journalonline.com


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