Legendary race car driver A.J. Foyt called the Daytona International Speedway “the prettiest speedway in the world.”
The iconic speedway is even prettier these days, after a $400 million “reimagining” called DAYTONA Rising. And Kingspan Insulated Panels were a big part of giving the facility an extensive new facelift. Kingspan, a market leader in sustainable building product technology, was the first partner in the “We Built Daytona” partnership with the facility.
Each February, the world’s top NASCAR drivers take to the track to kick off the season for the Daytona 500, known as The Great American Race.
The Daytona International Speedway was the vision of Bill France Sr., know by many as “Big Bill.” Construction of the 2.5-mile track dates back to 1957, and included many engineering feats. Crews excavated more than a million square yards of soil from the track’s infield to create the high-banking curves that the track is famous for. But as crews removed the dirt, they hit the high water table and inadvertently created what is now known as Lake Lloyd.
Another engineering challenge was paving the three banked curves; one is 18 degrees, and the other two are 31 degrees. Engineer Charles Moneypenny had to devise a way to keep the paving equipment from sliding down the steep bank. He did so by connecting the paving equipment to bulldozers anchored to the top of the banking, a process he would patent and later use to pave the tracks at the Talladega Superspeedway and Michigan International Speedway.
In 2013, the Daytona International Speedway embarked on a major overhaul of the facility, called DAYTONA Rising. The massive makeover included new concourses, interactive displays, new seats, 60 suites, 40 escalators, 17 elevators, three times as many concessions stands and twice as many restrooms – all designed to enhance the fan experience.
One unmistakable element in the DAYTONA Rising project is the use of insulated metal panels (IMPs); more than 125,000 square feet of Kingspan Optimo panels and BENCHMARK by Kingspan Designwall 2000 architectural wall panels were used, both inside and out.
Embossed insulated metal panels in shimmering white, bold colors and dynamic curves were used to create an eye-catching new exterior of the speedway. The wall system makes it easy to swap out sponsor logos for the dozens of different events held at the speedway each year.
As fans enter the speedway, they experience a signature element of the DAYTONA Rising project as they walk through the new concourses, called “injectors.” The five injectors are oversize walkways spaced along the mile-long front stretch of the track.
Kingspan insulated metal panels were used to construct the walls of injectors. Each injector is a sponsored, air-conditioned space that includes immersive experiences for fans; there are more than 1,400 high-definition screen displays among the exhibits and activities.
IMPs were also used in the escalator areas, a welcome addition for fans who no longer have to hike up to their seats in the massive grandstand.
A major reason that International Speedway Corporation, the owner and operator of the facility, chose to use insulated metal panels on such a large scale was that its values aligned with the manufacturer’s core belief in building environments that are energy efficient, sustainable, environmentally sensitive and adaptable.
“From day one, we committed to maximizing sustainable building practices as part of DAYTONA Rising,” said Joie Chitwood III, chief operating officer of International Speedway Corporation.
An insulated metal panel wall system, like the Kingspan system used for DAYTONA Rising, is the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective strategy to reduce energy demand and construction costs, thanks to the high thermal performance, superior airtightness and “cool” wall benefits they provide.
Another reason International Speedway Corporation used Kingspan insulated metal panels was the improved speed of build. The fully-inclusive package and cladding system made installation much faster and eliminated the need for multiple trades on site that would have been necessary with other systems. Panels can be installed on multiple elevations simultaneously, allowing interior trades to enter the building earlier in the job schedule.
DAYTONA Rising took two-and-a-half years to complete - the track stayed fully operational the entire time - and was ready to host the track’s two most prestigious events in 2016, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Daytona 500.
Chitwood III summed up DAYTONA Rising by saying “Our aim was to live up to the vision that Big Bill had in the 1950’s. Just as in 1958, we were doing something special. Racing on the beaches was part of the 1930’s-50’s Florida scene. Bill wanted to move to a speedway but it took determination, vision and imagination. He pictured something bigger, faster and more impressive than anything anyone had seen. We pictured turning that same speedway into a true stadium, a first for motorsports with everything that entailed.”