9 things to know if you're going to (or avoiding) the Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Start your engines!

It's race weekend in Daytona Beach, and the crowds are already streaming into Volusia County.

Here are nine things you need to know whether you're heading to the race (or trying to avoid it all together):


1) Leave speeding to the racers: Traffic is expected to stack up as crowds pour into Daytona Beach to watch the race. Daytona Beach police encourage you to slow down and leave yourself extra time to get where you need to go.

The Florida Department of Transportation said it is also providing extra signage and navigation assistance to drivers in and around Daytona Beach. FDOT also urges driver to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic related to the event.

2) Don't forget your shades: Forecasts are calling for sunny skies throughout the weekend. Watch Channel 9 throughout the weekend for the latest forecasts. If rain chances change, race crews will be prepared. Watch this video to see how they dry the track in a matter of hours.

3) Know where to park: NASCAR drivers only have to worry about driving in circles. Daytona 500 attendees need to know how to navigate the maze of parking options available for this weekend's events. Click here for information on parking and driving directions.

4) What to bring: Race attendees can bring their own food and drink into the track, but there are limits to what you can pack (for example, leave your umbrellas at home). Here's the full guide of what to pack and what to leave at home.


5) Wait, the track is how big?! According to the Daytona International Speedway, two full Disneyland parks could fit inside the 180-acre infield of the race track. And it's also the largest lighted sports facility in North America with more than 2,000 lights installed around the track.

6) When is the actual race? There are a ton of festivities and smaller races leading up to the Daytona 500 throughout the weekend. But the main event begins at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

7) What does the 500 stand for? If you're not familiar with the lingo, the 500 in Daytona 500 stands for the 500 miles that drivers cover before they cross the finish line. In total, that accounts for 200 laps.

8) Who's performing? The 82nd Airborne Division's "All-American" Chorus, based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., will perform the national anthem before the race on Sunday. And country music star Jake Owen is performing the pre-race concert starting at 1:45 p.m.

9) What if I don't care about NASCAR? There are plenty of other things to do in Daytona if you're in the area. Follow this account to check out Speedweeks deals not necessarily related to racing.

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