One of the strongest hurricanes to hit the east coast of the United States in quite a few years ravaged the coast of Florida on Friday. New Smyrna Speedway near Daytona Beach, Florida suffered some damage from the category two storm.
“From the end of the existing tower all the way to turn one, those grandstands flipped straight forward over the catch fence and are laying on the frontstretch,” said track general manager, Kim Brown. “All of the billboards are pretty much destroyed. The roof of the pit office has been peeled off.”
The grandstands on the turn one side of the main tower had been all wood prior to this year. The speedway replaced those grandstands with aluminum grandstands just before the start of this year’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in February.
Brown said she did not believe the flipping of the grandstands was caused by anything other than strong wind gusts. She said track received wind gusts of close to 100 mph throughout the day.
After photos of the damage originally surfaced, many in the racing community began to wonder if New Smyrna Speedway would
be able to host the 51st Annual Florida Governor’s Cup 200 on November 13. Brown said that the track would be in racing condition well before then.
“I think the track will be ready for the motorcycle event we have this Saturday,” she said. “The grandstands won’t be back up, but the company has been out and a crane company is coming out to at least get them off the race track and the catch fence. That way we can start repairs. As far as grandstands go, I don’t have a firm plan for that yet. We’ll take that as we can. The main thing is getting it all cleaned up right now.
“It may not be the prettiest place still, but Robert (Hart, track owner) said in times like this we dig in our heels and go to work.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Andrew Hart/New Smyrna Speedway