Daytona International Speedway Damaged In Hurricane, Pitching In With Recovery

Daytona in July 2016. Photo credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Daytona in July 2016. Photo credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Hurricane Matthew hit Daytona Beach, Florida hard, flooding streets and pulverizing structures with wind. The hurricane killed six in Florida after causing hundreds of deaths in Haiti, per ABC News. Daytona International Speedway was right where Matthew made landfall in Florida, and it received moderate damage in the storm.

A Daytona International Speedway statement on the damage reads:

Daytona International Speedway experienced moderate damage from Hurricane Matthew with impacts to lights, speakers, signage, fences, gates, awnings and palm trees. Daytona International Speedway Ticket Office and Tours and the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be closed on Saturday and Sunday for facility cleanup.


Daytona also warned that a flooded photo of its backstretch that had been circulating around social media was from 2009, not from Hurricane Matthew. There was no flood damage to the facility this time.

Fortunately, it seems as though most of Daytona’s structure is intact, which allows them to help with recovery efforts. The track’s statement continues:

We are working with local, regional and state officials on recovery efforts following Hurricane Matthew. Daytona International Speedway is once again serving as a staging site for Florida Power & Light crews.


Over a million Floridians lost power in the hurricane, per ABC News. Photos show crews using the speedway’s big parking lots to meet up before heading out to restore service to thousands of area homes.

IMSA, NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation (which owns Daytona, among other race tracks) are also headquartered in Daytona Beach. However, IMSA’s season is over for the year and NASCAR appears to be largely carrying on as usual with a very damp race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. No word on any damage to their facilities in Daytona Beach has been posted.


However, NASCAR communications rep Mike Lovecchio opted to ride it out from his home, posting periodic updates throughout the storm from a few blocks away from the beach:


Other locals posted videos of the storm in town as well:

Hurricane Matthew had been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane by the time it reached Daytona Beach.


The speedway itself had just completed a $400 million “Daytona Rising” renovation ahead of this year’s Daytona 500.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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Brad Landers

Stef, I know this seems like a minor point, but it’s kind of important in making sure that everyone keeps Hurricane Matthew in perspective when future storms arrive (and they will).

Hurricane Matthew never made landfall. Landfall is when the eye crosses over land.

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, having been through more than a handful of hurricanes ranging from direct impact (eye wall passage) to distant indirect impact (feeder bands only). The difference in impact is tremendous.

For example, in 2004, we were on the north eye wall of both Frances (cat 2) and Jeanne (cat 3). Matthew was an absolute cake walk compared to both of those storms. Saying that Matthew (cat 4) made landfall in Daytona gives the mistaken impression that this is what cat 4 hurricane aftermath looks like. It’s not. Not even close.

I don’t mean to come across as a self-righteous smarty-pants, but there’s a very dangerous sentiment developing around here: that a cat 4 hurricane isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. I keep reminding everyone that the storm didn’t make landfall. It was 20-40 miles off-shore everywhere except St Augustine, where it closed to 10-15 miles. Thankfully, we didn’t get to see a cat 4 landfall. Ask any Andrew survivor and they’ll tell you, you don’t want to.