See You in Daytona

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Written by David S. Wallens

From the Jan. 2016 issue

Posted in Columns

Welcome to Daytona Beach, our hometown. We might not have a decent local music scene, but our backyard does feature one of the world’s most famous race tracks: Daytona International Speedway. In fact, we’re probably a bit jaded by its presence, since we pass by often (it’s next to our local Home Depot, and across the street from Target). My wife’s office is located around the corner, and on a quiet day we can hear the cars at our home–about 8 miles to the north.

What does this mean to you? Several times each year we get to play host. Most recently it was to the SCCA Runoffs, where each morning we greeted drivers, crew, workers and participants with a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut and cup of coffee. Earlier this year we had the Red Bull Global Rallycross in town.

Next on deck is the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Flip to the staff listing and at the top you’ll find our promise to you: We’re your personal guide to the sports car world. No matter what your involvement–participant or supplier, racer or newbie–we’re here to help. So here are some personal recommendations for those coming to visit our little corner of the motorsports world.

Eats: The track is surrounded by pretty much every chain restaurant imaginable. If a regional chain is more appealing than a national one, you’ll find a Tijuana Flats at 2280 W. International Speedway Blvd.–it’s in a little strip mall just east of Target. Their hot sauce bar is definitely worth a visit, and I keep gravitating back to their old standard, Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally.

To get away from the noise, we usually break away and do Thai for dinner at Zen Bistro: 223 Magnolia Avenue in Daytona Beach. They do a good job with their tofu.

For late-night munchies, or breakfast anytime, it’s hard to beat Waffle House. There’s one between the track and I-95. Look for the iconic yellow sign.

Drink: If you’re looking to stock up before the big race, you can find almost anything at Total Wine & More. It’s at 2500 W. International Speedway Blvd., behind Chili’s, BJ’s Brewhouse and Krystal. Next door you’ll find a Bed Bath & Beyond–you know, in case you need to do some decorating while in town.

If you’d like to get some beer right from the source, a few minutes north of the track you’ll find Daytona Beach Brewing Company at 482 Fentress Blvd. in Daytona Beach. They’re located in a light industrial park–head all the way to the back of the park and look for Unit N on the right. Inside you’ll find a welcoming place to grab a cold drink. My friend Nikki, the beer connoisseur, says that you can’t go wrong with their Some Beach Brown Ale. Their seasonal brews are always very good, she adds.

Midnight Tour: Many, many years ago, soon after the earth cooled, my friend Beth and I met up one Rolex weekend to walk the paddock together at midnight. (Beth is pretty rad–if you go to her webpage at bethdolgner.com, you can see her dragging a knee while racing a Suzuki SV650 at Summit Point.)

Since then we have formalized the midnight tours, and Dean Case, PR manager for Mazda, is my partner in crime– well, along with Mrs. Editor. Our mission is simple: If we’re going to walk the paddock, why not have some company?

In the past we have watched crews rebuild wrecked cars, introduced our readers to some serious driving talent, and watched tires mounted and balanced at a furious pace. A couple of years ago Tommy Archer mentioned our tours on the live broadcast, so I guess now we’re bona fide.

We aim to keep everyone busy for about 3 hours, and we won’t be insulted if you peel off early. My goal is to be home and in bed just before sunrise, so I’m not on much of a schedule. To join us, be at the GRM infield tent at midnight.

Local Attractions: Daytona might not be the biggest city, but there are at least two special places you really need to visit while you’re in town. Greg at The Race Place (1105 Cave Avenue in Daytona Beach) maintains one of the best slot car facilities on the planet. He has all of the cars, track and parts one could ever need. Likewise, Randy at The Guitar Attic (1672 1/2 Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona Beach) can handle all of your guitar desires. His shop is always crammed with cool gear at very fair prices.

Orlando: Not even an hour west of the speedway you’ll find Orlando. There’s stuff to do there.

Just off I-4 at 2245 W. Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park you’ll find Skycraft Parts & Surplus–look for the UFO on the roof of the building. What’s inside? What isn’t? Need some fabrication basics, electrical components or magnets of all shapes and sizes? They have it. My wife once bought some chain link baskets that she turned into planters. It’s a haven for the creative.

A little further into town (2916 Corrine Drive in Orlando) you’ll find Park Ave. CDs, my favorite record store thanks to their friendly staff, great selection and late hours. And if you want to make it a real late night, check out Will’s Pub at 1042 N. Mills Avenue in Orlando. It looks like Jucifer, an extremely sludgy, two-piece metal band, is playing on Friday, January 29. Tickets are $12 at the door. Next-door at Lil’ Indies you can catch some classic country courtesy of Adam Lee.

So thanks for visiting our town, and hope you have a great time. Check out this article for more Daytona tips.

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Reader comments:

NordicSaab
NordicSaab Reader
Jan. 14, 2016 5:27 p.m.

Daytona is also home of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University which is right next to the race track. At Embry-Riddle is one of the largest space telescopes in the United States. If anyone cares, my FIL is the vice-provost of physics and could arrange a private tour. Pretty cool to see in person.

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2016 6:33 p.m.

Question: any mass transit from track to beach?

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2016 6:35 p.m.

In reply to NordicSaab:

Details? We will arrive Thursday and have some time to kill.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
Jan. 14, 2016 6:45 p.m.
TRoglodyte wrote: Question: any mass transit from track to beach?

I took a ride a few years back.
http://www.votran.org/

I am regretting my decision to not go this year. It's by far my favorite race weekend as a spectator.

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2016 6:50 p.m.

In reply to Wall-e:

GRM offers the best experience in motorsports , if speed is your god, Daytona is your shrine. Back to steam power at Ormond.

Nick (LUCAS) Comstock
Jan. 14, 2016 7:17 p.m.
NordicSaab wrote: Daytona is also home of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University which is right next to the race track. At Embry-Riddle is one of the largest space telescopes in the United States. If anyone cares, my FIL is the vice-provost of physics and could arrange a private tour. Pretty cool to see in person.

My niece went to Embry-Riddle. I went down with my sister to help her get settled. But, I accidentally went on a tour of the speedway while I was supposed to be helping her move stuff. It was worth it.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2016 7:18 p.m.

I'll be there, my third year in a row..........and looking forward to it. Getting out of the lousy Michigan winter is a big plus too. Don't forget to mention the Hibachi Grill which is sort of across the street from the track and down just a bit. You can hear the cars from the restaurant. All you can eat Asian buffet style for $10.00. Nothing fancy but we hit that once or twice while in town. Don't forget to bring a powerful hunger with you on that visit. See you soon!!!!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
Jan. 14, 2016 7:41 p.m.
TRoglodyte wrote: Question: any mass transit from track to beach?

Yeah, you're looking at Votran, a taxi or Uber.

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte SuperDork
Jan. 14, 2016 8:02 p.m.

Oober active, viable?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
Jan. 20, 2016 11:41 a.m.

What?

DPEXP
DPEXP New Reader
Jan. 20, 2016 12:20 p.m.

Mikes galley in Daytona beach shores, best breakfast ever.

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte SuperDork
Jan. 20, 2016 12:23 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard:

Would Uber be better than the taxi services? Never used them?

wbjones
wbjones MegaDork
Jan. 20, 2016 12:46 p.m.
Wall-e wrote:
TRoglodyte wrote: Question: any mass transit from track to beach?

I took a ride a few years back.
http://www.votran.org/

I am regretting my decision to not go this year. It's by far my favorite race weekend as a spectator.

so we're both missing out this yr ... hope we'll see each other next yr

wbjones
wbjones MegaDork
Jan. 20, 2016 12:49 p.m.
DPEXP wrote: Mikes galley in Daytona beach shores, best breakfast ever.

on US 1 ... a few blocks south of International Speedway Blvd ...there's a little hole in the wall type of breakfast lunch diner .. called the Ultimate Omelet ... awfully hard to beat them

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
Jan. 20, 2016 12:51 p.m.
TRoglodyte wrote: In reply to Tom Suddard: Would Uber be better than the taxi services? Never used them?

Yeah, I certainly prefer it to taxis.

44Dwarf
44Dwarf UltraDork
Jan. 20, 2016 1:36 p.m.

You forgot the Gene's STEAK place... and you do have a good music scene but its a traveling show called Bike Week. :) Like Ron Jones who used to play at the California patio by the beach entrance was great music to sit and watch the chuckle heads dump the old lady off the back getting on and off the sand...but its gone now or changed hand. think Ron play Hang Dog's solon on Ormond now.

CobraSpdRH
CobraSpdRH Reader
Jan. 20, 2016 1:42 p.m.

If you're wanting to park early Friday and leave a vehicle all weekend, do you have any options?

Last year, we parked near Turn 4 outside the track Friday morning (free) and then had to move to the campground parking that night (outside west side of track?) where we were allowed to stay for the rest of the weekend ($20 I think).

Staying in a friends RV for the weekend so would love to just park and be done with it...

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
Jan. 20, 2016 2:38 p.m.

Other good places in the area:

*Breakfast--- Howards--- on US-1 in Holly Hill---Mom and Pop joint, nothing fancy, just good eats at cheap prices

For something a little classier, check out La's Bistro on Nova Rd., just South of Rt 40 (Granada) Great eats, in a nice, casual environment.

*Lunch--- Brickyard--- on International Speedway Blvd. (Rt 92) Best burgers in town---- bar none.

North of town on A1A in Ormond by the Sea is Crabby Chris's Crab Shack----- if you like Mahi tacos, or delicious BBQ--- go there....you won't be disappointed!

If you are staying South of Rt 92 (ISB) try the Shores Festhaus. It's a nice little surfer bar next to the Win Dixie grocery store in Daytona Beach Shores. They have fantastic sandwiches! Try the Cajun Dutchman........one of the best sandwiches in the world!

*Dinner--- Stonewood on A1A in Ormond Beach--- good quality steak, ribs, chicken, pork, etc.

*Drinks---- Robbie O"Connell's Irish Pub--- friendly local joint with great service. Very smoky inside though, so be warned

Ocean Deck--- live music nightly, good food, and it's one of the only places directly on the beach.

The Daytona area has it's quirks, so if anyone wants, I can also provide a list of places / areas to avoid--- but I'm not going to post here for liability reasons. Feel free to PM me.

wbjones
wbjones MegaDork
Jan. 20, 2016 2:56 p.m.
44Dwarf wrote: You forgot the Gene's STEAK place... and you do have a good music scene but its a traveling show called Bike Week. :) Like Ron Jones who used to play at the California patio by the beach entrance was great music to sit and watch the chuckle heads dump the old lady off the back getting on and off the sand...but its gone now or changed hand. think Ron play Hang Dog's solon on Ormond now.

add the Brickyard to the burger/steak joint ... best burgers I've ever had

edit: should have read all the posts before mentioning the Brickyard

The0retical
Jan. 20, 2016 3:49 p.m.

I have my BS, MS, and A&P from ERAU. If you get a chance go look through the new A&P building as well. The program is top notch and I hear the new facilities are a lot nicer than what we had when I attended. Also see if you can weasel a "demo" in the simulators, that's usually fun.

I wish I was going to be able to make the Rolex this year. I'm traveling home that weekend and I'd stop off but I think the wife would get angry if I went to a race instead of home to her after four and a half months.

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