See You In Daytona Beach

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jan 24, 2017 | Posted in Columns | From the Feb. 2016 issue | Never miss an article

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, 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, or the bar next door, Lil’ Indies.

So thanks for visiting our town, and hope you have a great time. Check out one of our past Daytona guides for even more Daytona tips.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
1/24/17 4:01 p.m.

Don't forget Houligan's at 1725 W. International Speedway Blvd. (ISB to locals), where you can join the GRM staff and friends for wings and beer Friday evening. Find us after 5:30 in the upstairs banquet room.

And if you like Chinese buffets (who doesn't?), our favorite guilty pleasure is located just east of the Speedway: Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet at 1320 W. ISB. You want the fried chicken there--trust me.

We'll have donuts at the GRM Experience tent (in the infield next to Lake Lloyd) each morning from 9 a.m. until they run out, but if you don't manage to grab one, you can go to the mothership from whence they come: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at 980 W. ISB. For all you non-Southerners, hit it when the "hot doughnuts now" sign is lit and you'll never be sorry.

See you this weekend!


mtn MegaDork
1/24/17 4:04 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: For all you non-Southerners, hit it when the "hot doughnuts now" sign is lit and you'll never be sorry. See you this weekend! Margie

That is just false, or at best an alternative fact. The "sorry" starts at about hot donut number 4.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
1/24/17 4:17 p.m.

Also--- for delicious BBQ, head to the Smoke Shack-- directly across from the track:


For live music, good food, the ocean, and fantastic people watching while you imbibe--- the Ocean Deck really can't be beat: Deck

And if you like smokey, dimly lit, but extremely friendly Irish Pubs with exceptional service--- Robbie O'Connells is the place where the locals drink. (well, at least the locals you'd want to hang out with!) Robbie's FB Page

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
1/25/17 12:12 p.m.
mtn wrote:
Marjorie Suddard wrote: For all you non-Southerners, hit it when the "hot doughnuts now" sign is lit and you'll never be sorry. See you this weekend! Margie
That is just false, or at best an alternative fact. The "sorry" starts at about hot donut number 4.

Fair point, but I'd argue the number is more like 6. When they're hot, they just melt right down... onto your thighs.


hobiercr Dork
1/25/17 12:21 p.m.

I heard a member of your staff is having a birthday during the event!

If you are going to be there, wish Nancy Comes a Happy Birthday!!

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
1/25/17 3:05 p.m.

Nancy, Rick and Joe are all celebrating birthdays within days. ;)

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