Updated:DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - This weekend, the Coke Zero 400 will be the very last race on the old track at the Daytona International Speedway. The track is being repaved after a pothole cracked open and delayed the Daytona 500 for hours.
There's an entire factory set up ahead of the project. Fifty people from Lane Construction, a Connecticut company, will run the temporary plant at Daytona International Speedway. It will churn out asphalt for the next six months, replacing a race track that was first put down 52 years ago and hasn't been resurfaced since 1978.
"You've got a ton of history in this track. You're going to see a lot of history go away," race fan Nick Koerner said.
Eager to see cars race on old bumpy pavement one last time, fans have been buying tickets for the July 3 race at the rate of about 1,000 a day. The Speedway said the sales rate is picking up as the weekend gets closer. Hotel industry officials also told WFTV reservations are noticeably better than last year.
"That's why we're here, last race, Junior in the 'three' car, it's a historic event. It's just going to be great," race fan John Sanna said.
It's the first of what track and tourism officials hope will be two successful events after the embarrassing Daytona 500 pothole incident. The potential speed of a new track surface next February is already drawing interest.
"When the track is much faster next year, it's going to be better, I think," race fan Wilfred Berns said.
Officials have never stated the cost of the project, but have acknowledged media reports of around $20 million.