Updated:DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Crews started tearing apart Daytona Beach's biggest landmark Monday. For the first time ever, tractors started ripping up the asphalt from Daytona International Speedway.
The job has to be done before the Daytona 500. The organizers joked Monday morning that they're already ahead of schedule, but the goal is to have the old asphalt replaced by January 1, 2011.
With a slow, calculated dig, Daytona International Speedway and its decades of racing history were uprooted. NASCAR legends Darrell and Michael Waltrip, the only brothers to win the race, made the first strike on the high banks in turn one, an honor they'll never forget.
"I happen to like change. I'm excited about the opportunity to see something we've never seen before," Michael said.
"The drivers that have said, 'Oh man, I don't wan them to fix the track.' I think they'll reject saying that," Darrell added.
The racetrack's entire 2.5 miles will be repaved. All the original asphalt will be replaced down to the lime rock.
The bottom part of the speedway is the original asphalt laid down in the 1950s. The upper layer is a part of the repaving job done in 1978.
Now, 32 years later, an estimated 50,000 tons of asphalt will be smoothed across 33 acres of land, an estimated $20 million undertaking. It's money well spent to the Waltrips.
"There's blood, there's sweat. There's tears. Tears of joy and sorrow all around this place for me," Michael said.
"The tradition and what it means to a stock care driver to win here, there's no place like it," Darrell said.
A lot of NASCAR fans have been asking how they can score a piece of the track. Well, if you renew your season pass you get a piece automatically. Otherwise, the Speedway will be selling pieces on Jostens.com in the near future.
Previous Stories: July 5, 2010: Speedway Begins Repaving Project July 4, 2010: Own A Piece Of Daytona July 3, 2010: Speedway Hosts Last Race Before Repairs June 29, 2010: Last Race To Be Held On Old Speedway Track May 20, 2010: Speedway Pothole Repairs Holding Up April 26, 2010: Speedway Repaving May Not Draw More Races April 24, 2010: Daytona International Speedway To Be Repaved February 15, 2010: Speedway Dealing With Pothole Embarrassment February 15, 2010: Pesky Pothole Puts Damper On Daytona 500 February 14, 2010: Major Track Problems Force Delays At Daytona 500