NASCAR: How many fans can attend the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway?

Daytona International Speedway is the home of the annual Daytona 500, also known as the "Great American Race".

Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR
Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Daytona International Speedway broke ground in 1957 and opened in 1959, and it has been the site of NASCAR's Daytona 500 ever since. The 66th running of the "Great American Race" set to take place this weekend.

Unlike most other sports, the NASCAR Cup Series opens up its season with its most prestigious event. The Daytona 500 has opened up each and every season going back to 1982, and it is set to do so for a 43rd year in a row in 2024.

Let's take a look at some of the ins and outs of the venue that has become known as the "World Center of Racing".

How big is Daytona International Speedway?

Think back to September 2016, when Bristol Motor Speedway hosted a college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Many fans not familiar with NASCAR commented about the sheer size of the venue, as it was indeed much larger than even some of the largest football stadiums in the country.

For a simple comparison, Bristol comes in at just over a half-mile in length. Daytona is nearly five times the size of that.

Daytona International Speedway is a four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) oval located in Daytona Beach, Florida. The turns are banked at 31 degrees, the tri-oval/front stretch is banked at 18 degrees, and the back straight away is banked at 3 degrees.

The track is so big, that you could literally place a full-size NFL field just within the tri-oval at the start/finish line. In fact, football games were actually hosted at the venue back in the 1970s, and there have been talks about a return in the near future.

How many fans can Daytona hold?

Renovations in 2016 left Daytona International Speedway with more than 100,000 seats in its grandstands -- 101,500 permanent seats, to be exact. Additionally, the track has the ability to increase its permanent seating capacity to 125,000.

However, the track can comfortably fit a lot more than 125,000 fans on race day. In fact, when the green flag flies, the venue itself nears the top 10 on Florida's population list for cities.

NASCAR and its race tracks never release official attendance numbers, but it is believed that there were between 150,000 and 175,000 fans in attendance for last year's sellout. A similar number is expected in 2024. For another comparison, the highest capacity football stadium in the United States is Michigan Stadium at 107,601.

Is Daytona one-of-a-kind?

Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama is considered Daytona's sister track, though the two are not identical. In fact, despite its massive size, Daytona is not even NASCAR's largest oval.

Though the shapes are largely the same, Talladega comes in at about one-sixth of a mile longer, and it also consists of a much wider track -- and with slightly more banking in the corners.

The start/finish line is also closer to turn one -- well beyond the tri-oval -- at Talladega, producing a much longer final sprint to the checkered flag once the field comes off of turn four for the final time.

Who has the most wins at Daytona?

Richard Petty is the only driver with more than four Daytona 500 wins, and he is a seven-time champion of the race, giving "The King" yet another record that will be hard, if not impossible, to break.

There are 12 drivers who have won more than one Daytona 500, including two (Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson) who remain active. Those 12 drivers account for 35 of the race's 65 victories all-time.

What other races does Daytona host?

Petty owns 10 total NASCAR Cup Series wins at Daytona, which is also the all-time record, since the track also hosts a summer Cup Series race at the track, the Firecracker 400 (now known as the Coke Zero Sugar 400 for sponsorship purposes).

The track used to host the preseason Busch Light Clash exhibition race, but that race has since been moved to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Daytona road course, which hosted Cup Series points races in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restriction-related scheduled changes, actually got to host the Clash once in 2021 as well.

The Daytona oval also hosts the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the NASCAR Truck Series, and the ARCA Menards Series.

Aside from NASCAR, the biggest event the venue hosts is the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's 24 Hours of Daytona, known as the Rolex 24 at Daytona for sponsorship purposes. This race is a 24-hour sports car endurance race on the track's road course.

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Daytona International Speedway is scheduled to host the 66th annual Daytona 500 this Sunday, February 18 beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Fox is set to provide live coverage. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss it!