Friday, October 3, 2008

Hitting The Road To Daytona International

Earlier this week, the Class of 2010 traveled to Daytona to visit the Daytona International Speedway (DIS) as part of our DeVos Guest Speaker Series. The event started off with a buffet lunch in Bill France’s (Chairman & CEO, Nascar) skybox overlooking the start/finish line. After lunch, we had the privilege to speak with leaders from both Nascar and DIS, including Robin Braig, the President of DIS and Steve Phelps, Chief Marketing Officer for Nascar. Following this we took a quick trip on top of the skybox to get the best view of the track from where the driver’s spotters are stationed during a race.

Next, we headed over to the Daytona 500 Experience to learn some of the history of the track and test our racing skills through friendly competition in racing simulators in Acceleration Alley. We ended the day by taking a tram tour of the track. There was some shock among us as we got into the track and realized just how narrow the track actually is considering the drivers will sometimes push the envelope and drive four wide. The amazement grew as we entered the first turn and saw firsthand the magnitude of the 31° banking in the turns.

Going into the day, most of the 2010 class had fairly limited exposure to Nascar. After touring the track and experiencing its incredible size and hearing some of the staggering figures concerning Nascar’s revenue, fan loyalty, sponsorship commitment and television ratings, many of our preconceived notions of the sport had changed. Most of us now have a new appreciation for the sport and may be buying our first tickets to a Daytona or Nascar event in the coming months. I personally have been an avid fan of the sport and have been to a couple Nascar races before, but getting to see Daytona in person for the first time was a great personal treat for me. I look forward to other future events in the Guest Speaker Series that are equally as entertaining and fulfilling.


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