DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Daytona 500 is still a week away, but it's already getting a lot of hype, especially since Danica Patrick won the pole.
And for the first
time, the Speedweeks event that leads up to the 500 is actually a full week of events, which adds two more days for Volusia County to rake in money.
Monday night will mark the Daytona International Speedway's
first short track race. The Battle at the Beach is 0.4 mile, but it's still bringing hype to Daytona and it's fair share of fans, like Amanda Ambrosio who is in town from Virginia.
"I love seeing all the action, all the competition," said Ambrosio. "So, it's definitely something that's exciting and it's the inaugural race, so it's good to be here for the first time."
And for the first time, fans have something to do on the Monday and Tuesday leading up to the Daytona 500.
The short track race, featuring up and coming drivers, combined with talk of Patrick, new race cars and new rules, is having a snowball effect according to track president Joie Chitwood.
"Anytime the eyeballs of our country are tuned in to Daytona, that's going to generate attention, publicity, ticket sales, viewership, you name it," said Chitwood. "So, we feel like we're in a really good position."
Since Patrick won the pole for the 500, ticket sales have surged for Sunday's race and races leading up to it, officials said.
The speedway doesn't share ticket sales, but officials said they're making up the revenue they lost during last year's Daytona 500 rainout.